Fight the Bite: West Nile Virus now found in LA County

West Nile Virus, transmitted to humans and animals by infected mosquitoes, has been found in two dead birds and six new mosquito samplings in LA County, including in Burbank, Encino and San Marino. No cases have been found yet in our area, but the Vector Control District (VCD) for the state of California has put out an alert to all LA County residents about this increase in West Nile Virus (WNV) samplings this week.

Statewide, a total of 593 mosquito samples and 432 dead birds have been identified for WNV. The virus is transmitted to humans and animals via a mosquito bite. One in five people will exhibit symptoms, usually between 5-15 days after being bitten which can include fever, headache, body aches, nausea or a skin rash. There currently is no cure for WNV. One in 150 people infected with the virus will require hospitalization and severe cases may include high fever, neck stiffness, paralysis and possibly death.

Dead birds are key to knowing where and when the virus may be found in an area.The public is encouraged to report dead birds to the California Department of Public Health at 1-877-WNV-BIRD or visit them online The dead birds found in LA County this month were a crow and a raven. The California West Nile Virus webpage carries a variety of useful information if you’d like to know more. We’re sharing this (rather campy) video on collecting dead birds for the VCD should you find a dead bird or squirrel on your property.

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About Julie Grist

Julie co-founded the Larchmont Buzz with fellow buzzer Mary Hawley in 2011 and served as Editor, Publisher and writer for the hive for many years until the sale of the Buzz in August 2015. She is still circling the hive as an occasional writer.

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