IMPERIAL COUNTY, California- The Imperial County Public Health Department announced on Friday that two local mosquito pools have tested positive for Saint Louis Encephalitis (SLE) and West Nile Virus (WNV). The mosquito pools were collected on Canon Road and La Paz Imperial on August 9th and results were received on August 12th. In June, the Department announced a positive mosquito pool for SLE in Winterhaven.
“These two positive mosquito pools shows that our mosquito surveillance and testing program is working,” stated Stephen Munday, M.D., Head Officer. “Residents are strongly encouraged to check around properties and yards for mosquito breeding sources and use mosquito repellent to prevent mosquito bites.”
Symptoms of Saint Louis Encephalitis (SLE) include fever, headache, nausea, vomiting, and tiredness. Severe neuroinvasive disease (often involving encephalitis, and inflammation of the brain) is more common in older adults. Severe symptoms of WNV include fever, nausea, vomiting and seizures. Most individuals who are infected with WNV will not experience any illness. Other will have only mild symptoms, such as fever, headache, and body aches. However, WNV can be severe in the elderly and individuals with lowered immune systems. There are no vaccines to prevent nor medications to treat SLE nor WNV.
SLE and WNV are transmitted to humans though the bite of and infected mosquito. Mosquitoes become infected when they feed on infected birds. Individual can reduce their risk of mosquito-borne diseases by taking the precautions below.
• Limit time outdoors during dawn and early evening.
• When outdoors, wear loose-fitting, light-colored, long-sleeve shirts and pants when mosquitoes are most active (during dusk and dawn).
• Apply insect repellent that contains DEET, Picaridin, or oil of lemon eucalyptus according to label instructions to prevent mosquito bites.
• Make sure that doors and windows have tight-fitting screens. Repair or replace screens that have tears or holes.
• Eliminate all sources of standing water on your property that can support mosquito breeding by:
Draining or eliminating, old tires, buckets, plastic covers, toys, or any other container where mosquitoes can breed;
Emptying and changing the water in birdbaths, fountains, wading pools, rain barrels, and potted plant trays at least once a week to destroy potential mosquito habitats;
Draining or filling temporary pools of water with dirt; and
Keeping swimming pool water treated and circulating.
Contact Vector Control if there is a significant mosquito problem where you live or work at (444) 265-1388.
If you or anyone in your household has symptoms that are causing concern, contact your healthcare provider.
The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has a useful search tool that the public can use to find the repellent products most appropriate for them and their families. The tool is available at https://www.epa.gov/insect-repellents/find-repellent-right-you.
For additional information related to Saint Louis Encephalitis, please visit the California Department of Public Health’s website: https://www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CID/DCDC/Pages/SLE.aspx.