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Officials warn Angelenos to guard against mosquitoes and West Nile

August 31, 2013|By Ari Bloomekatz
  • Held by a pair of tweezers, one of thousands of mosquitoes trapped by Los Angeles County Vector Control officers. The insects are categorized and shipped to a lab at UC Davis to be tested for West Nile Virus.
Held by a pair of tweezers, one of thousands of mosquitoes trapped by Los… (Bob Chamberlin/ Los Angeles…)

As throngs of Angelenos take to the outdoors this Labor Day weekend, officials are warning them to guard against mosquito bites.

"This week, the district confirmed more West Nile virus activity within its jurisdiction," according to a news release from the Greater Los Angeles County Vector Control District. The virus is transmitted to people and other animals through the bite of an infected mosquito.

"Twenty-seven mosquito samples and four dead birds collected throughout Los Angeles County tested positive for West Nile virus. In addition, five more surveillance chickens tested positive for West Nile virus antibodies," according to the release.

Overall this year, the agency reported 63 dead birds and 267 positive mosquito samples.

They are suggesting residents be vigilant against the threat of West Nile virus by getting rid of standing water, changing the water in pet dishes weekly, properly maintaining pools and spas and wearing insect repellent that has DEET or other active ingredients "when outdoors where mosquitoes are present," among other suggestions.

According to the agency, one in 150 people infected with the virus require hospitalization.

"Symptoms usually occur between five and 15 days [after a bite] and can include fever, headache, body aches, nausea, or a skin rash," the agency said. "Severe symptoms include high fever, muscle weakness, neck stiffness, coma, paralysis, and possibly death."


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