Mosquito Carrying West Nile Virus Found In Los Cerritos Wetlands (90803); Experts Advise Residents To Consider It Endemic Regionally (Basically Everywhere) And Advise Sensible Anti-Mosquito Precautions
|(July 19, 2019, 8:20 p.m.) -- LBREPORT.com has learned that a mosquito testing positive for West Nile Virus (WNV) was among mosquitoes trapped during the past week on SE LB's Los Cerritos Wetlands.
A July 19 press release from the Greater Los Angeles Vector Control District (GLACVD) simply said the area was zip code 90803 but LBREPORT.com inquired further and GLAVCD Public Information Officer Anais Medina Diaz provided us with additional information.
The agency's mosquito sample trap was on the Los Cerritos wetlands (we don't have a more precise location). It was a common culex mosquito. GLACVCD sends its trapped mosquitos each week to UC Davis for testing and just received the results. The agency plans to continue its protocol of surveillance and prevention using a larvicide -- in this case a natural bacterial substance (not a chemical) that disrupts mosquitoes in their larval stage before they become flying infective mosquitoes. GLACVCD may also post signs in the area and convey information through social networks.
For years, public health agencies have said WNV should be considered endemic to the overall area (not just one zip code but basically everywhere) and thus advise sensible anti-mosquito precautions all across LB (details below.)
The issue of mosquitoes and the wetlands became problematic over a decade ago under different circumstances than today. In 2004, an elderly woman died after she was bitten by a WNV-infected mosquito in the area of Clark/Wardlow. In summer 2005, a large area from the Seal Beach/Los Cerritos wetlands through SE LB into ELB extending inland to El Dorado Park became a hotbed of WNV mosquito activity. At one point, GLACVCD crews went door to door in the Palo Verde/Studebaker and Atherton/Willow areas trying to find the mosquito breeding source(s). In late June 2005, GLACVD did ground fogging in the wetlands area to try to reduce adult mosquitoes. None of this is happening now.
In February 2006, GLACVCD invoked a 2003 abatement order and the then-wetlands property owner, Bixby Ranch Co., complied by bringing a bulldozer-size weed-whacker vehicle onto the wetlands east of the Marketplace (south of 2nd St. near Studebaker Rd.) and tore out large chunks of tule grass vegetation. As reported by LBREPORT.com at the time, GLACVD said it sent the property owner a reminder notice on compliance and the property owner undertook the vegetation-removal in response to GLACVCD's notice. Today, the 33 acre chunk south of 2nd St. immediately east of the Marketplace is the owned by the city of Long Beach and the wetlands north of 2nd St. are currently owned by Synergy Oil.
[Scroll down for further.]
People contract WNV through the bite of an infected mosquito. There's no cure for WNV and about one in five infected persons will show symptoms that can include fever, headache, body aches, nausea, or a skin rash lasting for several days or months. One in about 150 people infected will require hospitalization for symptoms that include high fever, muscle weakness, neck stiffness, coma and paralysis...that can possibly become fatal.
In September 2017, Robert Palmer, the founding member of the Surfrider Foundation's Long Beach chapter, died from WNV. He was 68 years old. It wasn't immediately clear in what geographic area he was bitten.
GLACVCD and other public health agencies have said LB area residents should consider WNV endemic to the overall area (not just one zip code but basically everywhere.) Thus, it's wise to take basic anti-mosquito precautions all across LB.
The CDC recommends using mosquito repellant products with the active ingredients DEET, Picaridin, IR3535, or oil of lemon eucalyptus. [The latter has a strong smell; make sure your pet animals DON'T lick it.] It's also smart to wear a long sleeve garment and long pants (sorry about the summer heat.)
GLACVCD also urges residents to remove any standing water in flower pots, fountains, pet dishes, clogged rain gutters, rain barrels, discarded tires, buckets, watering troughs or anything (even the smallest water source) that holds water for more than a week. The agency recommends changing water in pet dishes, birdbaths and other small containers at least weekly [we hope humans change their pets' water dishes more frequently than once a week.]
And residents should report any neglected (green) swimming pools to GLACVCD (ELB), the LB Health Dept. (covers most of the rest of LB) or Compton Creek Vector Control (NW NLB.)
Property owners in the GLACVCD service area (green) pay a fee on their property tax bill for the agency's services. Mosquito control/vector control in most of the rest of LB (red map area) is handled by the LB Health Dept. using its currently budgeted sources; a recent effort by the City to have property owners in those areas (red portion of map) pay for mosquito control/vector control instead of the Health Dept. failed passage (LBREPORT.com coverage here.) Mosquito control in the NW portion of NLB is handled by a Compton Creek mosquito/vector control agency.
July 20, 4:55 a.m.: Map and text re LB's three mosquito control/vector control serviced areas added.
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