West Nile Virus confirmed in Belmont Heights

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west-nile-virus-long-beachWest Nile Virus (WNV) has been detected in a dead house finch in the Belmont Heights area of Long Beach. The City of Long Beach Department of Health and Human Services’ Vector Control Program received notification from the California Department of Public Health Department’s Vector-Borne Disease Section on Wednesday, June 10, 2009 of the positive test results. The dead bird was reported to the State’s dead bird hotline on Wednesday, June 3.

This is the first sign of WNV in Long Beach for 2009. Although no human cases have been reported so far this year in California, WNV activity has been detected in 12 California counties (including Los Angeles and Orange) in birds and mosquitoes. In 2008, 445 human cases, including 15 deaths, were reported in 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.

With the detection of West Nile Virus and the onset of hot summer weather creating an ideal environment for mosquito breeding, Public Health Officials at the City of Long Beach Department of Health and Human Services are urging residents to protect themselves and their families from the virus. Dr. Helene Calvet, City Health Officer, is encouraging all residents to protect themselves 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 2;
  • 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; and,
  • Report dead birds and dead tree squirrels to the California Department of Public Health by calling 877.WNV.Bird or online at www.westnile.ca.gov.

For further information about West Nile Virus in Long Beach, contact the Health Department’s Vector Control Program at 562.570.4132 or online at www.longbeach.gov/health/wnv_info.asp.

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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