West Covina, CA (June 6, 2013) - The San Gabriel Valley Mosquito & Vector Control District confirmed that a dead bird identified by a District vector ecologist was infected with West Nile virus (WNv). The bird was collected in central Arcadia southeast of Santa Anita Avenue and Duarte Road. This is the first confirmation this year that WNv is being transmitted actively in the District.
Birds are natural hosts for WNv and are routinely monitored to indicate whether the virus is active in the San Gabriel Valley. Mosquitoes transmit WNv from one bird to another when they bite to obtain a blood-meal necessary for egg development. Because WNv is fatal to many common urban species, dead birds serve as an early warning that virus is being transmitted. People can become infected with WNv if they are bitten by an infected mosquito.
West Nile virus threatens the health of San Gabriel Valley residents every year. Last year, 479 people were sickened and 20 died in California alone. While the illness is typically not life threatening, approximately one in five will develop disease that results in extended periods of significant fatigue and muscle weakness. People over 50 years of age or with underlying medical conditions are at higher risk for severe illness which requires hospitalization and may lead to permanent disability.
District officials hope this information motivates residents to take the necessary precautions against mosquito bites and remove source of standing water sources around their homes.
Proactive monitoring, early season mosquito control, and public education are critical to reduce disease transmission. Throughout the summer, basic protective measures should be followed:
- DUMP AND DRAIN: Check properties weeklyand remove all sources of standing water. Report 'green' inoperable pools or other sources of standing water to the District
- DAWN AND DUSK: Avoid outdoor activity in the early mornings and for sevearl hours after dusk when mosquitoes are most active.
- DEFEND: Wear effective repellents when outdoors during these times, and ensure doors and windows are properly screened to keep mosquitoes out.
The District encourages the public to help identify WNV "hot spots":
- Report dead birds and squirrels to the WNV Hotline at (877) WNV-BIRD (877-968-2473) or www.westnile.ca.gov.
- Report mosquito problems to (626) 814-9466 or www.sgvmosquito.org.
[The San Gabriel Valley Mosquito & Vector Control District is a public health agency dedicated to controlling mosquito and other vector-borne disease. The District can be reached at 626-814-9466 or on the web at www.sgvmosquito.org.]