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Friday, June 28, 2013

West Nile Virus Detected in Long Beach; City Health Officer Encourages Residents to Take Precautions

Crows feeding
Crows feeding (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
West Nile Virus Detected in 
Long Beach;
 City Health Officer Encourages Residents to Take Precautions

West Nile Virus (WNV) has been detected in two American Crows in East Long Beach, near El Dorado Park.  The birds were tested by the State Department of Public Health’s WNV Surveillance System, which monitors the disease in humans, horses, chickens, mosquitoes and dead birds.  This year (2013), WNV activity has been detected in 20 counties in California, including WNV positive birds and mosquitoes in Los Angeles and Orange Counties. 

No human cases of WNV have been detected in Los Angeles or Orange Counties; however, one human WNV case was detected in Sacramento earlier this year. In 2012, 479 human WNV cases, including 20 deaths, were reported in California.  Long Beach had no WNV deaths in 2012, and only one human WNV case reported.   

WNV is transmitted through the bite of an infected mosquito.  Signs and symptoms of WNV may include fever, body aches, rash, nausea, vomiting and headache.  Most people infected have no symptoms; approximately one in 150 may develop more serious disease, such as brain inflammation or paralysis.  Persons with these symptoms should seek immediate medical care.  

The WNV infected birds were found in the section of the City served by the Greater Los Angeles Vector Control District (GLAVCD).  The Long Beach Health Department has confirmed that GLAVCD will be increasing surveillance and treatment of active mosquito breeding areas.  The Long Beach Health Department Vector Control Program, which serves the western portion of the City, will also be increasing surveillance and treatment services in response to this information. 

Long Beach residents can assist by taking precautions to protect themselves and neighbors from the virus. Long Beach City Health Officer, Dr. Mitchell Kushner, encourages all residents to protect themselves and others by taking the following precautions: 

· Avoid mosquito-infested areas, especially at dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are most active.
· Mosquitoes breed in standing water. Eliminate standing water on your property by dumping or draining water in neglected ponds, birdbaths, fountains, buckets, old tires or anything that can hold water. Dumping or draining water interrupts the mosquito life cycle.
· Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants if you plan to be outdoors at dawn or dusk.
· Use mosquito repellant containing DEET, Picaridin, or Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus. Residents should follow instructions on the label. Consult with your child’s pediatrician for appropriate concentrations of DEET to be used on children under the age of 2.
· Keep tight-fitting screens on doors and windows to prevent mosquitoes from entering homes and check to make sure your window screens are in good condition.
· Clean and chlorinate swimming pools and drain water from pool covers.
· Limit the watering of lawns and outdoor plants to twice a week to prevent run off to gutters and around sprinklers.

Report dead birds and dead tree squirrels to the California Department of Public Health by calling 1-877-WNV-Bird or online at For further information, contact the City of Long Beach Health Department, Vector Control Program, at 562.570.4132 or online and click on “West Nile Virus.”  Join us on Facebook at Further information about WNV may also be obtained at the California Department of Public Health website at, or at the Federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website at

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