Santa Monica News
Spread Of West Nile Virus Continues
By Michael Lambrose
Oct 9, 2012 - 2:16:59 PM

SANTA MONICABetween September 19, 2012 and October 5, 2012 five more cases of West Nile Virus have been reported in Santa Monica.  West Nile Virus is transmitted to humans through the bites of infected mosquitoes.  These mosquitoes contract the disease by feeding on infected birds.
West Nile Virus Cycle

Since May 21, there have been 14 reported cases of birds infected with West Nile Virus in Santa Monica.  Los Angeles County has reported a total of 548 cases of infected birds, squirrels, mosquito pools, horses and humans spread throughout one third of its neighborhoods.

West Nile Virus is a potentially dangerous disease for humans, especially the elderly or those with a compromised immune system. In severe cases, there is a mortality rate between three and 15 percent. However, less than one percent of individuals who contract the disease develop a severe illness.  In 2012, there have been 72 cases of West Nile Virus in Los Angeles County resulting in two deaths.

Map of West Nile Cases in Los Angeles County
Symptoms of West Nile Virus mimic the flu: nausea, fever, headache and body aches.  According to the Los Angeles County West Vector & Vector-Borne Disease Control District, symptoms of the more severe infection are distinguished by a “higher fever, stiff neck, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness, paralysis, and, rarely, death.

Local officials are encouraging residents to help respond to the recent outbreak.  Individuals should remove any standing water from their property which mosquitoes might use as a breeding ground.  Free mosquito fish for use in any ornamental pond are provided by the District by calling 310-915-7370. 

To minimize the risk of infection, residents are also encouraged to use bug repellant containing DEET and to repair any broken windows or doors that might allow mosquitoes access to their homes.  Also as a part of the District’s surveillance and control effort, individuals are asked to report any dead birds by calling the toll free hotline at 877-WNV BIRD (877-968-2473).

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