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    LB Health Advisory re West Nile Virus: (1) Take Precautions Against Mosquitoes (2) Advise Authorities of Dead Birds; See Details

    (August 22, 2003) -- The LB Dept. of Health and Human Services has issued an advisory following discovery of mosquitoes carrying the dangerous -- and sometimes fatal -- West Nile Virus (WNV) for the first time in CA (in Imperial County, in the southeast part of the state.)

    WNV killed nearly 300 people nationally in 2002 and has caused over 714 human cases this year with 14 deaths...and while there are no human cases reported in CA yet, LB's Health Dept. advises (1) taking mosquito prevention measures now and (2) reporting dead birds to authorities per instructions below. [Caveat: Don't attempt to catch or handle live or dead wild birds.]

    In the public interest, we post the pertinent part of an August 22 LB Dept. of Health and Human Services release below.

    We have also added hyperlinks in the release text to access updated information from state, federal and LB authorities...and we urge readers to click on the links for the most up to date information.

    [begin pertinent portion of Aug. 22 release text]

    Recommendations for keeping mosquitoes under control on resident's personal property are as follows:

    • Dispose of anything that can hold standing water such as tin cans, discarded tires and plastic containers;
    • Drain or fill low spots in the ground and drill holes in the bottom of outdoor recycling containers to prevent moisture from collecting;
    • Change water in bird baths, decorative fountains and pet feeding bowls often;
    • Clean clogged roof gutters regularly;
    • Clean and chlorinate swimming pools regularly.

    In addition, residents should avoid mosquito-infested areas at dawn or dusk, wear long sleeved shirts and long pants when outdoors, ensure all operable windows are screened, and use insect repellent products with between 10%-50% DEET for adults and between 10%-30% for children. Typically, higher concentrations provide longer protection. Residents should follow instructions on the label.

    The [LB] Health Department has enhanced its Vector Control Program, which routinely provides mosquito surveillance and control in public areas of the City. This program plays an important part in limiting the occurrence of mosquito borne disease, however, the Health Department urges residents to remove standing water from private property to eliminate mosquito-breeding sources and prevent disease.

    Since WNV [West Nile Virus] affects certain types of birds (crows, jays, magpies, sparrows, finishes [sic, we assume means "finches"] and ravens), the Health Department participates in a dead bird surveillance program and collects the dead birds to determine if they were infected with any viruses. Portions of the City are also served by the Greater Los Angeles Vector Control District and the Compton Creek Vector Control District.

    The public can become part of the monitoring effort for WNV by reporting any birds listed above that may have been dead for less than 48 hours and show no sign of decomposition or maggot infestation to a special California Department of Health Services toll-free line: 877-WNV-BIRD. The tissue of the dead birds is tested for the presence of WNV. The virus was most often identified in dead births [sic, we assume means "birds"], especially crows, in other regions of the country. While there is no evidence that people can get the virus from handling live or dead infected birds, individuals should not attempt to catch or handle them.

    If you have any questions regarding mosquito control measures in the city of Long Beach, please feel free to contact the DHHS [Dept. of Health & Human Services] Environmental Health Program at (562) 570-4132 or go to the DHHS web site at Further information may be obtained at the State of California Department of Health Services web page at, or at the Federal Centers for Disease Control at

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