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    First LB West Nile Virus Infected Mosquitoes Found Vicinity Heartwell Park

    (July 6, 2004, with updates) -- has learned that for the first time in 2004, mosquitoes infected with the West Nile Virus (WNV) have been found in Long Beach.

    [updated information] The Greater Los Angeles County Vector Control District says WNV positive mosquito traps (called "pools" because they pool mosquitoes in a group of 10-50 live anesthetized female mosquitoes in a vial for testing) were found in the vicinity of Heartwell Park, one near the Girl Scout Camp at 7070 E. Carson St. another in the vicinity of Carson St. and Woodruff Ave. (actually found across the street in Lakewood, the District told us.)

    A District staffer initially told us WNV positive mosquitoes were also found at El Dorado Park, quickly corrected by another staffer. However Minoo Madon, Scientific Technical Services Director for the Greater L.A. County Vector Control District stressed, "As far as I'm concerned, from my perspective it's the whole area." Tips of the two parks nearly touch in NE LB, separated by the San Gabriel River. [end update]

    Yet another positive mosquito trap was found north of ELB in Cerritos (borders Lakewood) at Westgate Park (South St. east of Palo Verde near San Gabriel River)

    The news is an ominous sign for LB. Three dead WNV-infected crows have been previously identified in LB. As first reported by, WNV-infected dead crows were recovered June 21 from zip code 90807, on June 10 from zip code 90804, and on June 7 from zip 90808 (Rutgers Ave. between Bellflower/Clark and Spring/Wardlow).

    As previously reported by, WNV infected mosquitoes have previously been found in mosquito traps in Lakewood at the Lakewood Golf Course (adjacent to ELB).

    Until now, WNV-infected mosquitoes hadn't been identified within LB itself. The mosquitoes spread WNV to humans. Crows and other corvid birds bitten by WNV-infected mosquitoes become infected, then fly distances where they're bitten by new mosquitoes, which become infected. People become infected if bitten by WNV-infected mosquitoes.

    [Further update] The WNV-positive mosquitoes were collected by the Greater Los Angeles County Vector Control District on June 15 and 16, and confirmed positive for WNV on July 2 by the CA Department of Health Services (DHS) and the UC Davis arbovirus diagnostic laboratory.

    The most recent infected mosquitoes, all Culex quinquefasciatus species or Southern house mosquitoes, were collected near waterway systems. The Southern house mosquito is the most common mosquito species in Los Angeles County.

    Reaction to these breaking developments is pending as we post. Further to follow.

    Health officials say the risk of serious illness to humans is "low" with most individuals infected not experiencing any illness...but about 10%-15% of those infected develop symptoms including fever, headache and body aches...and about 1 in 150 will develop serious neurologic illness such as encephalitis and meningitis requiring hospitalization. Most will recover but statistically, some will die. The elderly and those with lowered immune systems are more susceptible to serious illness.

    The CA Dept. of Health Services says:

    Individuals can reduce their risk of mosquito-borne diseases by taking these precautions:

    • Avoid spending time outside when mosquitoes are most active, especially at dawn and the first two hours after sunset.
    • When outdoors, wear long pants and long-sleeved shirts.
    • Apply insect repellant containing DEET according to label instructions.
    • Make sure that doors and windows have tight-fitting screens. Repair or replace screens that have tears or holes.
    • Eliminate all sources of standing water that can support mosquito breeding.
    • Contact your local mosquito and vector control agency if there is a significant mosquito problem where you live or work.

    The CA Dept. of Health asks the public to report any crows, ravens, magpies and jays that have been dead for less than 48 hours to CDHS' toll-free hotline: 1-877-WNV-BIRD.

    "Individuals should take note of the bird's location and condition before calling for further instructions, including assistance with identifying the type of bird found. The bird should show no signs of decomposition or maggot infestation. While there is no evidence that people can get WNV from handling live or dead infected birds, individuals should not attempt to catch or handle them. If the local agency is unable to pick up the bird, individuals should use gloves, a shovel or newspaper to put it in a plastic bag and place it in the trash," the state agency said.

    Recent coverage:

  • Two New West Nile Virus Dead Crows From LB (90807 & 90804) + Three From Lakewood (90712 and 90713) + Two From Hawaiian Gardens (90716)

  • LBUSD Administrators Alerted to West Nile Virus Prevention Tips

  • Dead Crows, Possibly West Nile Virus Infected, Increasingly Visible in Cerritos

  • West Nile Virus Warning Signs Posted @ Lakewood Golf Course & Bolivar Park in Lakewood

  • Ground Zero For West Nile Virus: See Maps Showing WNV Totals & Recent WNV-Infected Dead Birds

  • It's Here: Dead Crow w/ West Nile Virus ID'd in LB; Residents Again Urged to Take Precautions

  • ELB Email to Cites Add'l Standing Water

  • More WNV Infected Crows in Cerritos...And First CA 04 Human Case in San B'dino County

  • West Nile Virus Expert Says We're In Midst Of Largest Mosquito-Borne Virus Outbreak in North American History & Biggest West Nile Virus Outbreak Ever Documented in the World

  • Editorial: Biting Back: Our Suggestions Re WNV in LB

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