Jul 26, 2014

Protecting Yourself From West Nile Virus

A dead crow infected with West Nile Virus was found in Sierra Madre last week. Here are a few tips for protecting yourself from WNV.

Protecting Yourself From West Nile Virus

Last week a dead crow found in Sierra Madre tested positive for West Nile Virus (WNV).

It's unknown where the crow picked up the virus, but it was the first instance of it in the San Gabriel Valley this year. Warm summer temperatures make it easy for WNV to thrive.

The city has issued an alert reminding residents to:

  1. Report dead crows or squirrels immediately to the State, either by calling their hotline (877) 968-2473 or filling out this form online.
  2. Report any mosquito activity to the San Gabriel Valley Mosquito & Vector Control District at (626) 814-9466 or online at www.sgvmosquito.org. Be prepared to provide your telephone number or email address.

The city has also issued these tips, the three D's, for keeping mosquitos at bay:

  • Drain: Check your property weekly for standing water. Regularly change bird bath and animal water dishes, and make sure water in flower pots, buckets and bowls isn't left out too long. Report "green" inoperable pools or other sources of standing water to the District.
  • Dawn and Dusk: Mosquitos are especially active at dawn and dusk. Wear long sleeves, bug spray and other protectants if you're outdoors when mosquitos are present.
  • Defend: Make sure your doors and windows have screens on them.

What is West Nile Virus?

WNV is most commonly spread to humans and animals through mosquito bites. Mosquitos pick up the virus from dead birds. WNV isn't spread from touching or kissing, according to the Center for Disease Control.

Four out of five people infected with WNV show no symptoms, but a few can develop a serious case, according to the CDC. Up to twenty percent of people who contract WNV develop flu-like symptoms like headache, fever, aches and even a rash.

About one in 150 people develop a severe case of the virus, according to the CDC. High fever, stiffness, coma, vision loss, paralysis and other serious neurological effects have been reported. Sometimes the symptoms last for several weeks, other times they are permanent, according to the CDC.

For more info on the virus, check out the CDC's West Nile Virus Fact Sheet.

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