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Mosquitos carrying West Nile virus found in San Fernando Valley

Mosquitos carrying West Nile Virus found in LA County
Mosquitos carrying West Nile Virus found in LA County 00:28

Los Angeles County health officials have confirmed the first positive sample of West Nile virus drawn from a mosquito trap. 

The sample was collected from a trap in the Winnetka area of the San Fernando Valley, which marks the first positive sample reported in the area this year. 

"While the presence of West Nile Virus in our community is not unusual, this early detection serves as a critical reminder for all residents to take preventative actions," said Steve Vetrone, the Director of Scientific-Technical Services for the Greater Los Angeles County Vector Control District. "We urge everyone to protect themselves from mosquito bites and to eliminate standing water around their homes where mosquitos can breed."

Officials say that the Culex mosquito, which is most active during dusk and dawn, is capable of transmitting the virus. It is the "primary vector for West Nile in the midwestern and western states," according to the United States Environmental Protection Agency. 

There is no human vaccine for the virus, so residents are urged to be proactive against mosquito bites by wearing repellant. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends products that contain the active ingredients DEET, Picaridin, IR3535 or Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus. 

Those who do become infected with the virus will generally experience no or mild symptoms that include fever, muscle aches and fatigue. 

People over 50 or with chronic medical conditions can become more seriously ill, in which case the brain and spinal cord could be affected, leading to meningitis, encephalitis or paralysis. 

Residents are urged to eliminate standing water in their yards, which is where mosquitos often breed. Common places include clogged rain gutters, barrels, old tires, buckets or watering troughs. Pet dishes, bird baths and other smaller containers should be changed weekly. 

They are also urged to make sure that pools and spas are properly cleaned and maintained. 

Neglected bodies of water found in LA County neighborhoods can be reported to a local vector control district. 

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