West Nile Virus Threat
Recently, there has been an increase in instances of West Nile Virus (WNV) in Southern California (Esp. the San Fernando Valley and Orange County). I have seen public notices posted in the parks recently warning of the threat of West Nile Virus. Here is some info about the virus, the current situation, and what you can do to stay healthy.
What it is:
West Nile Virus is a mosquito-borne disease that originated in Africa, and has made its way to the US. People are infected through a mosquito bite from a mosquito infected with the disease (usually from feeding on dead birds).
Symptoms may include: fever, nausea, vomiting, body aches, and skin rashes. More severe symptoms, which attack the central nervous system, may also be present (usually effecting less than 1% of those infected). The only treatment for WNV is supportive care. If you have severe headaches, neck rigidity, and confusion seek emergency medical care immediately.
San Fernando Valley: There has been one confirmed death due to West Nile Virus in the San Fernando Valley. The man was in his 60s and was first person to die from the virus this year in that county. There have been 428 cases to date, and 15 people have died statewide this year due to the illness. Also, Mosquitoes from this area have tested positive for West Nile Virus at a higher than average rate.
Orange County: In Orange County, there have been 3 deaths and 150 people infected so far this year. Santa Ana has been especially hard hit with 54 reported cases.
What you can do:
-Keep your immune system strong and avoid high-risk areas/times. Remember that there is no medication or vaccine for WNV.
-Stay indoors at dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are most active.
–Wear mosquito repellant containing EPA-registered active ingredients such as Picardin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, IR3535, and DEET.
-Drain stagnant water from outdoor containers and reduce lawn water runoff. These are the places where mosquitoes lay their eggs.
-Keep your screens closed, and repair broken ones to keep mosquitoes out of your home.
-Report dead birds, which can spread the virus, to www.westnile.ca.gov
-Report mosquito problems or dirty, green pools/water to vector control district at (562) 944-9656 or online at www.reportmosquitoes.org
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This information is for educational purposes only. Seek the advice of a health specialist before making any changes to your healthcare.