Residents Encouraged to Take Precautions Against West Nile Virus

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West Nile Virus - Mosquito

City Health Officer, encourages all residents to protect themselves against West Nile Virus.

The first human case of West Nile Virus (WNV) this year in Long Beach has been confirmed. The 61-year-old East Long Beach resident has no known underlying health issues and is currently recovering well. As of August 6, 2014, 35 human cases have been reported in 10 California counties, including Los Angeles (1) and Orange (6). There have been two WNV-related deaths this year in northern California.

WNV is transmitted through the bite of an infected mosquito. Signs and symptoms of WNV may include fever, body aches, rash, nausea, vomiting and headache. Most people infected have no symptoms; approximately one in 150 may develop more serious disease, such as brain inflammation or paralysis. Persons with these symptoms should seek immediate care.

Summer weather and drought conditions create an ideal environment for mosquito breeding. Dr. Mitchell Kushner, City Health Officer, encourages all residents to protect themselves from WNV by taking the following precautions:

  • Avoid mosquito-infested areas, especially at dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are most active.
  • Mosquitoes can breed in standing water. Eliminate standing water on your property by dumping or draining water in neglected ponds, birdbaths, fountains, buckets, old tires or anything that can hold water. Dumping or draining water will interrupt the mosquito life cycle.
  • Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants at dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are most active.
  • Use mosquito repellant containing DEET, Picaridin, or Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus. Residents should follow repellant instructions on the label. Consult with your child’s pediatrician for appropriate concentrations of DEET to be used on children under the age of two.
  • Keep tight-fitting screens on doors and windows to prevent mosquitoes from entering homes and check to make sure your window screens are in good condition.
  • Maintain all swimming pools in a clean and sanitary manner, with all circulation and filtration equipment operational and chemical levels within recommended guidelines; drain water from pool covers.
  • Limit the watering of lawns and outdoor plants to twice a week to avoid run off to gutters and around sprinklers. Do not over water plants or lawns to avoid creating pools of standing water.
  • Report dead birds and dead tree squirrels to the California Department of Public Health by calling 1-877-WNV-BIRD or online at www.westnile.ca.gov.

For further information, contact the City of Long Beach Department of Health & Human Services, Vector Control Program at 562.570.4132 or online at www.longbeach.gov/health. Further information about the WNV may be obtained at the State of California Department of Health Services website at www.westnile.ca.gov, or at the Federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website at www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvbid/westnile.

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