With eight cases of West Nile virus reported in Glendale so far this year, health officials took part in a door-to-door education campaign Wednesday, informing residents of what they can do to protect themselves from infection.
Conducted by the Greater Los Angeles County Vector Control District, the effort informed residents in Glendale, Los Feliz and Atwater Village about the preventive measures they can take to reduce the risk of being bitten by mosquitoes. Levy Sun, a spokesman for vector control, said wearing insect repellent and dumping out any stagnant water near homes are measures people should take regularly.
He said those actions were specifically targeted in the campaign because of the high concentration of people with West Nile virus in Glendale. Additionally, Sun said three traps set up by vector control officials in Glendale all turned up positive for the virus.
“We are now in the peak of mosquito season,” he said. “We can see it lasting until late November if the weather continues to stay warm.”
In Burbank, only one person has been reported to have contracted the virus this year, while 32 cases have been reported in Los Angeles.
Sun said the virus is fairly common and widespread throughout L.A. County, but it tends to cluster in the San Fernando Valley because it’s hotter and more humid there than other parts of the county.
Besides the preventive measures, Sun said residents can also call vector control to have a representative come out and inspect a home or property for any potential mosquito issues free of charge. The agency can also be called if a potential issue is found on public property, such as a park or street gutter.
According to the L.A. County Department of Public Health, West Nile virus can be found in nature in birds. It’s transmitted when a mosquito feeds on an infected bird and then subsequently feeds on a human or other mammal.
Most people infected with the virus do not exhibit any symptoms. The health department said for the small number of people who do show signs — usually one in five — it’s similar to having the flu, with symptoms such as headaches, muscle fatigue and nausea.
The virus cannot be spread from person to person, and there is currently no treatment for it.
The vector control district can be contacted at (562) 944-9656 or at www.glacvcd.org.