This week, more than one bird has been found dead in the City of Westlake Village — and yesterday, one bird has been confirmed to have West Nile by authorities.
This is the first positive result for WNV in Los Angeles County recorded for 2012 from either dead birds, dead squirrels, trapped adult mosquitoes, or sentinel chicken flocks. Because birds are migratory, this doesn’t mean that birds are contracting West Nile in Westlake Village, but instead simply means that the birds died in Westlake Village. Birds found dead may have been infected in one place, and fly 1 to 10 miles away before it dies.
Mosquitoes that carry WNV primarily bite in the early morning and evening so it is important to wear repellent at this time. People walking or sitting outside at dawn or dust will take the appropriate precautions to protect themselves from being bitten by infected mosquitoes. According to Los Angeles County communications, “Repellents containing DEET, picaradin, IR3535, and oil of lemon eucalyptus are the longest lasting and most effective. Repellents keep the mosquitoes from biting you.”
In your home, the County continues “make sure that your doors and windows have tight-fitting screens to keep out mosquitoes. Repair or replace screens with tears or holes. Eliminate all sources of standing water on your property, including flowerpots, old car tires, rain gutters and pet bowls. Ensure that swimming pools, spas, and ponds are properly maintained. If you have an ornamental pond, use mosquito fish. You can make arrangements to pick up free mosquito fish at the District by calling 310-915-7370.
The City has “sentinel flock chickens” — four chickens that sit in a chicken coup within the City. Their role as sentinels is to “stand guard” and are periodically tested by Vector Control (who controls the mosquito population in the drainage control areas). While tested regularly, they have not shown signs of WNV. With the increase in foreclosures, there’s increased concern of stagnant water sources for mosquitos (who carry West Nile) to breed. (Moving water continually drowns mosquito eggs even with the smallest of ripples — stagnant water is a breeding ground.)
If you find dead birds, residents are encouraged to report dead birds found in their community by calling the West Nile Virus Toll Free Hotline at 877-WNV-BIRD (877-968-2473).
Additional information can be found at the Los Angeles County Vector Control District Website or by calling Robert Saviskas at 310-915-7370, http://www.lawestvector.org/
More on West Nile
According to the County, people infected with WNV can experience a variety of symptoms that may include : no symptoms, West Nile Fever, or West Nile Neuroinvasive disease. Symptoms usually occur 2-15 days after infection. Symptoms of West Nile Fever can include : Headaches (often severe migraines), High fever, Tiredness and body aches, or A skin rash and swollen lymph glands. Symptoms of West Nile Neuroinvasive disease can include : Severe Headache, High Fever, Stiff neck, Stupor, Disorientation, Tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness, Paralysis, Coma. This form of the disease can lead to long lasting and permanent damage to the brain.