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LA County to Step Up Efforts to Fight West Nile Virus

Fourteen mosquito samples from around Los Angeles County have tested positive for the West Nile virus so far this year.

The Board of Supervisors Tuesday approved renewed efforts to combat West Nile virus.

Several dead birds found around the county have tested positive for the virus, said Supervisor Michael Antonovich, who represents Altadena. Antonovich called for multi-agency coordination and a plan to increase awareness, as well as surveillance of waterways that harbor mosquitoes, to prevent an epidemic.

"Though the Department of Public Health has been educating the community on methods to combat West Nile virus, more proactive measures must be taken," Antonovich said. "It is vital that West Nile control is achieved through mosquito control by elimination of mosquito breeding sites, active breeding sites and education on West Nile virus prevention."

The county urged residents to:

  • Avoid outdoor activities around dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active;
  • wear long-sleeve shirts and pants when outdoors;
  • apply insect repellents containing active ingredients such as DEET, Picaridin or oil of lemon eucalyptus;
  • keep tight-fitting screens on doors and windows to keep mosquitoes out;
  • eliminate all sources of standing water around their homes and properly maintain ornamental ponds, pools and spas;
  • request free mosquito fish from a local vector control district for placement in out-of-order swimming pools, spas and ponds to control mosquito breeding; and
  • contact the Greater Los Angeles County Vector Control District at (562) 944-9656 or online here to report any significant mosquito problems in their neighborhoods, especially near vacant or foreclosed homes and abandoned swimming pools and to report dead birds, which play an important role in spreading the virus.

A statewide website for tracking the virus confirmed that nine dead birds and 14 mosquito samples from around Los Angeles County have tested positive for the West Nile virus so far this year.

A dead crow in neighboring Sierra Madre

The board unanimously directed county employees to work with local vector control agencies to investigate and clear open waterways that harbor mosquitoes, to implement a plan to increase public awareness and surveillance, and to work with vector control districts to add coverage in unincorporated areas of the county.

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