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First Mosquitoes Test Positive for West Nile Virus Activity in 2019

 

Media Contact: Lora Young

Director of Communications
Orange County Mosquito and Vector Control District
Phone: (714) 971-2421
Email: lyoung@ocvector.org

 

Garden Grove, CA. The Orange County Mosquito and Vector Control District (OCMVCD) has confirmed the first mosquito sample to test positive for West Nile virus (WNV) in 2019. The mosquitoes were collected from the city of Orange at El Camino Real Park on July 30, 2019. The District has also confirmed 9 birds with West Nile virus in the cities of Cypress, Buena Park, Huntington Beach, and Tustin. There are no confirmed cases of human infections at this time in Orange County.

District staff will conduct additional mosquito trapping in the area around El Camino Real Park and distribute flyers alerting residents to the detection of the virus. Additional inspectors have been deployed to canvass the area to look for mosquito breeding sources and expand public education.

“The increased temperatures and humidity creates an ideal environment for mosquitoes to breed, it is critical that residents take the necessary steps to eliminate potential mosquito breeding sources and prevent mosquito bites.” said Lora Young, OCMVCD’s Director of Communications.

West Nile virus is transmitted to humans via the bite of infected mosquitoes, which become infected when feeding on birds carrying the virus. Most individuals infected with WNV will not experience any illness. Others will have flu-like symptoms, such as fever, headache and body aches. In severe cases, people will need to be hospitalized, and in rare cases the disease can be fatal. Young children, the elderly, or individuals with lowered immune systems are at greater risk to experience severe symptoms when infected.

Since its introduction in 2003, WNV has infected more than 6,500 people and has caused 292 fatalities statewide, according to the California Department of Public Health. West Nile virus is endemic in California and in Orange County, and presents a risk to public health every year.

Follow the tips below to prevent mosquito bites:

  • Apply mosquito repellent to exposed skin before going outdoors; reapply as recommended
  • Wear repellent containing DEET®, Picaridin, IR3535, or oil of lemon eucalyptus
  • Close all unscreened doors and windows to prevent mosquitoes from entering your home or space; repair broken or damaged screens
  • Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants, and opt for lighter-colored clothing

Around the home, eliminating breeding sources for mosquitoes is critical:

  • Dump and drain containers filled with water at least once a week
  • Clean and scrub bird baths and pet water bowls weekly
  • Dump water from potted plant saucers

Orange County residents are urged to report unusual numbers of mosquitoes to OCMVCD. For more information, please contact the Orange County Mosquito and Vector Control District at (714) 971- 2421 or (949) 654-2421, or visit www.ocvector.org.

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