Karen Ocamb

Health: Dead Bird with West Nile Virus Found in West Hollywood

Filed By Karen Ocamb | October 26, 2011 4:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Living
Tags: West Hollywood, West Nile virus

The City of West Hollywood just issued this public health advisory:West-Nile-Virus--300x221.jpg

Mosquito feeding on the skin (Photo courtesy PubMed Health)

This is to advise you that a dead bird collected in the City of West Hollywood (90069) has tested positive for West Nile Virus (WNV). WNV is transmitted through the bite of an infected mosquito. Mosquitoes become infected when they first feed on birds that carry the virus, and then bite a human or animal.

Birds routinely travel many miles from their nighttime nesting locations to feed and scavenger at other areas during the day before they return to their root location in the evening again. Although positive dead birds collected in a specific area are significant with respect to a wider region, county counts, and general geographical locations, it does not definitively identify a specific city, zip code, or location as the site where the actual mosquito bite and infection occurred because of their wide daily travel patterns. A bird infected in one place, may die 1 to 10 miles away in another place during the day. Positive results for "Sentinel Flock Chickens," "Trapped Adult Mosquitoes," or "Squirrels," are more specific with respect to the actual infection site.

The District recommends that the city make this information known to their residents through their normal communications process so people walking or sitting outside at dawn or dust will take the appropriate precautions listed below to protect themselves from being bitten by infected mosquitoes.

So far this year, there have been 128 separate zip codes in Los Angeles County that have recorded positive WNV results from either dead birds, dead squirrels, trapped adult mosquitoes, or sentinel chicken flocks. A current list of positive zip codes is attached.

Residents can protect themselves from WNV by doing the following:

  • DEET - Apply insect repellent according to the label. Repellents containing DEET, picaradin, IR3535, and oil of lemon eucalyptus are the longest lasting and most effective. Repellents keep the mosquitoes from biting you.
  • DAWN AND DUSK - Mosquitoes that carry WNV primarily bite in the early morning and evening so it is important to wear repellent at this time
  • MOSQUITO PROOF YOUR HOME - Make sure that your doors and windows have tight-fitting screens to keep out mosquitoes. Repair or replace screens with tears or holes.
  • DRAIN - Mosquitoes lay their eggs on standing water. Eliminate all sources of standing water on your property, including flowerpots, old car tires, rain gutters and pet bowls. Ensure that swimming pools, spas, and ponds are properly maintained. If you have an ornamental pond, use mosquito fish. You can make arrangements to pick up free mosquito fish at the District by calling 310-915-7370.

The public is encouraged to report dead birds to help with West Nile virus surveillance and control efforts. Dead birds should be reported to the toll-free hotline at 877-WNV BIRD (877-968-2473).

Symptoms of West Nile virus:

People infected with WNV can experience a variety of symptoms that may include: no symptoms, West Nile Fever, or West Nile Neuroinvasive disease. Symptoms usually occur 2-15 days after infection.

Symptoms of West Nile Fever can include:

  • Headaches (often severe migraines)
  • High fever
  • Tiredness and body aches
  • Occasionally, a skin rash and swollen lymph glands

These symptoms may last from several days to several weeks.

Symptoms of West Nile Neuroinvasive disease can include:

  • Severe Headache
  • High Fever
  • Stiff neck
  • Stupor
  • Disorientation
  • Tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness
  • Paralysis
  • Coma: This form of the disease can lead to long lasting and permanent damage to the brain.

For mosquito problems and to pick up mosquito fish, call (310) 915-7370.

If you have any questions, please contact Robert Saviskas, Executive Director, at (310) 915-7370 ext. 223 or at rsaviskas@lawestvector.org.

Additional information about the Los Angeles County West Vector & Vector-Borne Disease Control District and West Nile virus information can be obtained by visiting our website at: www.lawestvector.org. Results are updated on a weekly basis.


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