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Mosquitoes confirmed positive for West Nile virus in Los Angeles County

Officials are asking residents for help reducing the risk of the disease.
Dallas West Nile
Posted at 12:43 PM, Jun 03, 2024

A mosquito sample in Los Angeles has turned up positive for West Nile virus, officials say.

The Greater Los Angeles County Vector Control District said the mosquito sample was collected from a trap in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Winnetka, California, which confirms the presence of the disease in mosquitoes within the community.

“While the presence of West Nile Virus in our community is not unusual, this early detection serves as a critical reminder for all residents to take preventative actions,” said GLACVCD director of scientific-technical devices Steve Vetrone, in a press release. “We urge everyone to protect themselves from mosquito bites and to eliminate standing water around their homes where mosquitoes can breed.”

West Nile virus, which can be spread through a mosquito bite, can cause fever, headaches, body aches, vomiting, diarrhea, or rashes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. While some who contract the virus will not develop any symptoms, about 1 in 5 infected people will develop fever as well as some of the other symptoms, the CDC says. Most will recover, but fatigue and weakness can last for weeks or months.

In some cases, West Nile may cause a neurologic disease, such as meningitis or encephalitis.

There is no way to treat the disease, but rest, fluids and pain medications can relieve symptoms.

Because there is no vaccine for West Nile, officials in Los Angeles say residents must play an active role in reducing the threat.

The GLACVCD said community members should “eliminate standing water in clogged rain gutters, rain barrels, discarded tires, buckets, watering troughs or anything else that holds water for over a week.”

It also said residents should ensure pools and spas are properly maintained, water in pet dishes is changed out, and that any green swimming pools in the neighborhood should be reported to the vector control district.

People can also request mosquitofish from their local vector control district for placement in ornamental ponds.

For personal protection, the CDC says people can reduce their risk of mosquito bites with insect repellents, pants and long-sleeve shirts, and by treating clothing and gear.

Other states, like Nevada and Pennsylvania, have also detected West Nile in mosquitoes this year.

Brazil and other countries in regions with tropical zones try to control Dengue fever by controlling mosquito populations.

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