Summer may almost be over but mosquito activity is still at its peak and expected to continue into mid to late fall. That is why it continues to be imperative that everyone do their part to reduce the number of mosquitoes around their home, and take steps to avoid mosquito bites.
West Nile virus (WNV) is a potentially deadly disease that is transmitted through the bite of a mosquito that acquired the virus by feeding on an infected bird. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, most people infected with WNV will not experience any illness. However, about 1 in 5 individuals who are infected will experience mild symptoms such as body aches, fever, skin rash joint pain, and 1 out of 150 infected people will become seriously ill with tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness, vision loss, and numbness. In rare cases, WNV can lead to paralysis, coma or death. Persons older than 60 years of age are at greater risk of developing severe disease.
The best way to prevent West Nile disease or any other mosquito-borne illness is to take the following precautions:
- Apply mosquito repellent to exposed skin before going outdoors and reapply as recommended on the label.
- Wear insect repellent containing CDC and EPA approved active ingredients: DEET®, Picaridin, IR3535, or oil of lemon eucalyptus.
- Wear light-colored, long-sleeved shirts and long pants.
- Close or repair all unscreened doors and windows to prevent mosquitoes from entering the home.
- Eliminate standing water in clogged rain gutters, rain barrels, discarded tires, buckets, or anything that holds water for more than a week.
- Ensure that swimming pools, spas, and ponds are properly maintained.
- Regularly change the water in pet dishes, birdbaths, and other small containers. If the water has been standing for more than a week, scrub and rinse the container before refilling.
- Report neglected (green) swimming pools in your neighborhood or a breeding source located in a public area to the Greater Los Angeles County Vector Control District (GLACVCD) by calling (562) 944-9656 or completing a service request online at https://www.glacvcd.org/.