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    "Higher Than Normal" West Nile Rate Found Among Mosquitoes b/w Bellflower-Studebaker, Willow-Atherton; Residents Urged To Take Extra Precautions; Tests Underway To Determine If It's a "Hot Spot" Or More Widespread

    (July 8, 2005) -- The Greater L.A. County Vector Control District says recent tests indicate an above-normal infectivity rate for West Nile Virus (WNV) among mosquitoes collected within ELB zip code 90815 in the area between Bellflower Blvd. and Studebaker Rd. and from Willow St. to Atherton St.

    The agency is urging residents "to take extra precautions and protect themselves" as well as undertaking additional measures of its own.

    In a written release, the GLACVD says it's begun additional trapping around the perimeter of the area to determine if the problem is a localized "hot spot" or may be more widepsread.

    The agency said it's asked the LB Police Dept. "to assist in locating backyard mosquito breeding sources by using aerial surveillance."

    And GLACVCD says it will be posting warning signs "in all public areas in the 90815 zip code."

    In a release issued July 7, GLACVCD says that among mosquito "pools" (collections of multiple mosquitoes submitted for testing) within the Bellflower-Studebaker, Willow-Atherton perimeter, six of twenty pools were confirmed positive for West Nile Virus on June 29 by CA's Department of Health Services and the UC Davis arbovirus diagnostic laboratory. .

    GLACVCD District Manager Jack Hazelrigg says in the release, "Residents in this area need to be aware of the increased mosquito activity and take precautions when active outdoors and make sure they do not have standing water on their property."

    The release continues: "GLACVCD is determining whether the mosquitoes are primarily emerging from public mosquito-breeding sources or backyard sources. The District is increasing its surveillance efforts in the area, and trapping mosquitoes around the perimeter of this 'hot spot' to figure out how wide-spread the problem is or if it’s localized in this particular area. GLACVCD is asking the Long Beach Police Department to assist in locating backyard mosquito breeding sources by using aerial surveillance. West Nile virus warning signs will be posted in all public areas in the 90815 zip code."

    The agency says residents "can protect themselves and their family by playing an active role in mosquito prevention" as follows:

  • Mosquitoes breed in standing water. Eliminate standing water on your property by dumping or draining water in neglected swimming pools, ponds, rain barrels, discarded tires, buckets, or anything holding water for more than a few days. This will stop the mosquito life cycle.

  • Wear long-sleeve shirts and pants when outdoors, especially at dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are active.

  • Use mosquito repellent containing DEET.

  • Keep tight-fitting screens on doors and windows to prevent mosquitoes from entering homes.

    As previously reported by, in late June the agency mounted an attack on adult mosquitoes (not just water treatments to suppress pre-mosquito larvae) with three pre-dawn ground foggings in the oil sump/unrestored wetlands area of the Bixby Oil Field and the nearby Long Beach Marketplace. Between 2 a.m. and 5 a.m. on three alternating days in late June, GLACVCD spread what it calls an ultra low volume of ground based synthetic pyrethroid, similar to pyrethrum derived naturally from chrysanthemum flowers, which has the immediate impact of reducing the number of adult mosquitoes and then dissipates quickly.

    GLACVCD staffers told that the ground foggings are estimated to have reduced then-present adult mosquitoes by 85-90% (and possibly more).

    West Nile virus spreads when mosquitoes bite birds infected with the virus (through a previous bite from an infected mosquito) and then bite people. Authorities say most people bitten by a West Nile infected mosquito show few symptoms or no symptoms, but for reasons still not completely understood about 1 in 10 or 15 may develop serious, potentially life threatening neurological conditions such as encephalitis and meningitis.

    Last year, an elderly ELB woman (area Clark/Wardlow) died and 15 other LB residents were confirmed to have contracted the virus.

    The GLACVCD handles mosquito abatement in roughly half of LB: ELB areas north of PCH and east of Lakewood Blvd. LB's Dept. of Health and Human Services handles most of the other half except for the NW corner of the city, handled by Compton.

    "Symptoms of WNV infection typically begin between 7 to 14 days following the bite of an infected mosquito, and consist of fever, muscle and joint aches, fatigue, headache, and other flu-like symptoms. Elderly and immune suppressed individuals are at much greater risk for developing serious WNV illness such as encephalitis (inflammation of the brain)," LB's Health Dept. said in a previous written release, which added:

    Public Health Officials are continuing to monitor and treat public areas to prevent the spread of infection in Long Beach and urge residents and business owners to protect themselves and their neighbors by following a few simple guidelines:

    • Remove pools of standing or stagnant water, which provide a breeding ground for mosquitoes. Some common sources of stagnant water are debris piles, buckets, barrels, kid’s toys, and tire swings. Mosquitoes need water to complete their life cycle, and they breed most actively in stagnant water.
    • Clear gutters and drains of standing water.
    • Change water in birdbaths frequently.
    • Maintain swimming pools and spas with proper filtration and chlorination levels. Green or dirty pools can breed thousands of mosquitoes in a week’s time, unnecessarily increasing the population’s risk of contracting WNV.
    • Limit the watering of lawns and outdoor plants to twice a week to avoid run off to gutters and around sprinklers.
    • Limit your time outdoors when you notice mosquito activity primarily at dusk and dawn. If you remain outdoors wear clothing that provide more skin coverage such as long sleeved shirts and pants.
    • Use mosquito repellents containing 10-30% DEET when outdoors and especially between dusk and dawn. The repellent should be sprayed on clothing and exposed skin. Residents should follow instructions on the label. Consult with your child’s pediatrician for appropriate concentrations to be used on children under the age of two. Some non-DEET repellent products, which are intended to be applied directly to the skin, may also provide protection from mosquito bites. However, because studies have suggested that other products do not offer the same level of protection, or that protection does not last as long as the products that contain DEET, the CDC recommends that products that contain DEET should be used when possible.
    • Make sure that doors and windows have tight fitting screens and are in good repair.

    American crows and other birds are susceptible to WNV infection, and may be carriers of the virus, which can infect mosquitoes. Residents are encouraged to report dead birds by calling 1-877-WNV-BIRD.

    Because of State of California Department of Health Services (DHS) policy, if authorities do not pick up the bird within 24 hours, residents are being advised to dispose of the bird remains. Residents are advised to not handle dead birds with their bare hands. A shovel, cardboard or plastic bag can be used to handle the bird, and it should be placed in a plastic trash bag for disposal.

    If you have any questions regarding mosquito control and monitoring measures in Long Beach, contact the DHHS’ Vector Control Program at 570.4132 or visit .

    To report standing curbside water that has been present for longer than two days, please call the Vector Control Program or the City of Long Beach Public Works at 570.2700.

    Further information about the WNV may be obtained at the State of California Department of Health Services website at , or at the Federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website at

    Related coverage:

  • LB Health Dept. Urges West Nile Precautions During July 4 Holiday; Agency Says It's Increased Anti-Mosquito Efforts

  • Greater L.A. County Vector Control Does 2 a.m.-5 a.m. Ground Foggings To Kill Adult Mosquitoes In Bixby Oil Field/MarketPlace Areas

  • Uh-Oh: LB's First '05 West Nile Positive Mosquitoes Found

  • Oh $%#!: West Nile Infected Dead Crow Found In ELB Zip Code 90815

  • CDC OK's New Repellents To Fight Mosquito-Borne West Nile Virus

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