(July 6, 2004, with updates) -- LBReport.com 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 LBReport.com, 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 LBReport.com, 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: