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

    (June 15, 2005) -- Long Beach and Cerritos have reported their first confirmed cases of mosquitoes testing positive for West Nile Virus (WNV) in 2005.

    The Greater L.A. County Vector Control District ("GLACVD", which handles areas east of Lakewood Blvd. and north of PCH) says WNV positive mosquitoes were collected on June 7 and June 10 near the vicinity of the MarketPlace at 2d St./PCH and in the Marina Pacifica areas.

    The LB Dept. of Health of Human Services (which handles most of the rest of LB, except the NW corner handled by Compton) tells that West Nile positive mosquitoes were collected at about the same time in the "California Bowl" area (near Signal Hill).

    In addition, mosquitoes from Cerritos collected from the area of South Street and Coyote Creek, have just been confirmed positive for the mosquito-borne virus.

    GLACVCD says it intends to post West Nile virus warning signs in parts of LB and Cerritos. A GLACVCD spokeswoman told that the agency hopes to put them in the MarketPlace/Marina Pacifica areas; exact areas are being determined as we speak. "The District will continue maximum efforts in controlling mosquitoes in the vicinity," GLACVCD said in a written release.

    "Positive mosquitoes from these locations within the District strongly indicates that West Nile virus activity is rapidly increasing," said GLACVCD Scientific-Technical Services Director Minoo Madon in the agency's release.

    No human cases have yet been reported in LB or CA in 2005...but this year's West Nile timeline roughly parallels what happened last year...when was among the first to report the appearance of dead crows in late May.

    That was soon followed by confirmation of WNV-positive mosquitoes...and by July, LB had its first human WNV fatality (in ELB, area Clark/Wardlow).

    Although WNV-positive dead crows are the first indication that WNV-infected mosquitos are in the general area, it's the WNV-infected mosquitoes that pose the risk to people, not the crows.

    Just weeks ago, on May 27, 2005, reported LB's first WNV infected dead crow in ELB zip code 90815. Nelson Kerr of LB's Dept. of Health and Human Services Vector Control division tells that four other WNV-positive dead crows have since been found in areas including zip codes 90815, 90803 and 90808.

    Last year, dead crows were visible virtually citywide by mid to late summer. In addition to the human ELB fatality, fifteen other LB residents were confirmed to have contracted the illness. However, based on statistics, many more are believed to have been infected...although many not know it; most people show no symptoms or very slight symptoms.

    While most otherwise healthy people don't show symptoms, for some people, serious neurological effects and illnesses can result. "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. says in a written release.

    The LB Health Dept. says in a written release:

    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

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