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The mission of Orange County Vector Control District is to provide the citizens of Orange County with the highest level of protection vectors and vector-borne diseases. For more information, visit the OCVCD website.
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Public Health Advisory
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The Orange County Vector Control District needs your help. 2014 is on pace to be the worst year for West Nile virus on record in Orange County. West Nile virus is transmitted through the bite of an infected mosquito. Infection can cause severe illness and permanent disabilities, and in rare cases, can result in death.
Due to drought conditions and enhanced mosquito control efforts, the number of mosquitoes in the environment is very low right now, But those few mosquitoes that remain are much more likely to be carrying West Nile virus. In fact, about 80% of all mosquitoes recently tested in Orange County are infected with the virus.
Right now, just one mosquito bite may infect you with the virus. That’s all it takes to change a life forever, as the impacts of this disease can be lifelong and debilitating.
Juvenile mosquitoes live only in stagnant water; without it, they die before they can become blood-sucking adults. Remember: anything that can hold just a teaspoon of water for more than a few days will allow mosquitoes to complete their life cycle to adulthood.
You can help reduce the number of mosquitoes around your home and community by dumping and draining all stagnant water. Call the Vector Control District for help with stagnant water sources that cannot be emptied, such as large fountains, decorative ponds, and unused swimming pools.
Avoid runoff from overwatering lawns and washing vehicles. Not only is overwatering a waste of a precious natural resource, it also keeps street gutters and underground storm drain systems artificially wet year round, creating the perfect habitat for mosquitoes to breed in very large numbers.
Make sure all windows and door screens on your home are in good shape, fit tightly, and have no holes that may allow mosquitoes to enter.
Try to stay indoors at dawn and dusk when biting mosquitoes are most active. Wear mosquito repellent when outdoors.
Birds often die from infection with West Nile virus. Birds that have died within the past 24 hours should be reported to Vector Control, so they can test for the virus.
To report biting mosquitoes, stagnant waters, or recently-deceased birds, contact Orange County Vector Control District, at (714) 971-2421 or visit ocvcd.org.
3 O.C. adults identified with chikungunya fever
(Information provided by the Orange County Register )
Mosquito-borne virus was contracted on trips to the Caribbean this year.
BY COURTNEY PERKES / STAFF WRITER
Published: July 22, 2014 Updated: July 23, 2014 11:23 a.m.
Three Orange County adults who traveled to the Caribbean this year contracted a mosquito-borne virus, which last week was transmitted in the U.S. for the first time in Florida.
Dr. Matt Zahn, the county Health Care Agency’s medical director for epidemiology, said Tuesday that the three residents traveled separately and were diagnosed with chikungunya fever (prounounced chik-en-gun-ye), between February and July.
The virus, which is similar to dengue fever, is transmitted by yellow fever and Asian tiger mosquitoes, which are not commonly found in California. However, state officials said they have recently been detected in a couple of counties, but not in Orange County.
The illness is not transmitted person-to-person, but if a mosquito bites an infected person, it can then spread the illness to other people.
“We don’t seem to have those mosquitoes around but it certainly illustrates why mosquito control is important and being aware of what mosquitoes are in your community,” Zahn said.
Symptoms of chikungunya virus infection usually start three to seven days after a mosquito bite. The most common symptoms are fever and painful joints, often affecting the hands and feet. Other symptoms may include headache, muscle pain, joint swelling or rash.
There is no vaccine and no specific treatment. Most people feel better in a week but some may have joint pain for several months or years.
This week, the Health Care Agency notified medical providers of the local cases. Chikungunya can be diagnosed with a blood test.
“Clearly it’s not an illness that physicians see with regularity,” Zahn said. “We certainly are trying to make people aware that people who come back from those areas, who have these symptoms, should be tested.”
Last week, Florida reported the first two locally transmitted cases in the U.S., meaning the patients were infected by mosquitoes there, not during travel overseas.
The illness has been common in Africa, Asia and India but first showed up in the Americas in the Caribbean in late 2013. It has since spread rapidly to other countries, health officials said. As of mid-July, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reported 234 imported cases of the illness, including 11 in California.
Travelers to the Caribbean should take precautions to avoid mosquito bites. State health officials advise the following:
Use repellents containing DEET, picaridin, IR3535, and oil of lemon eucalyptus. Use air conditioning or windows with screens to stay cool. If you can’t keep mosquitoes out of your hotel, sleep under a mosquito net.
For more information, visit cdc.gov/chikungunya.
Contact the writer: 714-796-3686 or firstname.lastname@example.org