IMPERIAL COUNTY – Two pools of local mosquitoes have tested positive for St. Louis encephalitis, the Imperial County Public Health Department said on Friday.
One of the mosquito pools was collected in El Centro, near West Main Road, just east of Austin Road. The other was at Imperial near the La Paz Drive area and Puerto Vallarta Avenue. The samples were taken on Tuesday and the results were received on Friday.
“ As temperatures rise, mosquito populations and the risk of disease also increase, posing a serious threat to public health in our communities, ”said Dr Stephen Munday, Imperial County Health Officer . “Residents are strongly encouraged to check around properties and yards for sources of mosquito breeding. “
The Department of Public Health’s vector control program has around 36 mosquito traps placed in strategic areas of the county, mostly within city limits. The traps are checked several times a week and the mosquito ponds are collected weekly.
“ Our agency will continue to monitor disease activity and treat affected areas, ”said Jeff Lamoure, deputy director of environmental health. “Although positive mosquitoes were collected from limited areas, all county residents should take precautions, such as wearing bug spray and minimizing outdoor activities at dusk and dawn, when mosquitoes are most active. . “
Symptoms of Saint Louis encephalitis (SLE) include fever, headache, nausea, vomiting, and fatigue. Severe neuroinvasive disease (often involving encephalitis, inflammation of the brain) is more common in older people. There are no vaccines to prevent or drugs to treat
SLE is transmitted to humans through the bite of an infected mosquito. Mosquitoes become infected when they feed on infected birds.
People can reduce their risk of mosquito-borne diseases by taking the following precautions:
· Limit the time you spend outdoors at dawn and early evening.
· Outdoors, wear loose, light-colored long-sleeved shirts and pants when mosquitoes are most active (at dusk and dawn).
· Apply an insect repellant containing DEET, picaridin, or lemon eucalyptus oil according to label directions to prevent mosquito bites.
· Make sure 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 promote mosquito breeding by draining or disposing of old tires, buckets, plastic covers, toys or any other container where mosquitoes can breed; empty and change the water in birdbaths, fountains, wading pools, rain barrels and potted plant tubs at least once a week to destroy potential mosquito habitats; drain or fill temporary puddles with dirt; and keep pool water treated and circulating.
· Contact Vector Control if there is a significant mosquito problem where you live or work.
People who suspect that they or a family member are showing symptoms of SLE should contact their health care provider.
The United States Environmental Protection Agency has a useful search tool that the public can use to find the most appropriate repellants for themselves and their families. The tool is available at https://www.epa.gov/insect-repellents/find-repellent-right-you.
For more information about Saint Louis encephalitis, visit the California Department of Public Health Department website: https://www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CID/DCDC/Pages/SLE.aspx .