With the Fourth of July holiday weekend approaching, people will be outside celebrating with backyard barbeques and trips to parks and beaches. Long Beach health officials are reminding people that our summer weather is an ideal environment for some uninvited guests - mosquitoes.
Although no positive West Nile Virus (WNV) activity has been detected in Long Beach this year, WNV-positive birds and mosquitoes have been detected nearby in Los Angeles and Orange Counties, as well as other parts of the state. City of Long Beach Health Officer, Dr. Mitchell Kushner, is urging residents to protect themselves from mosquitoes this holiday weekend and during the remaining warmer months.
“Last year, Long Beach experienced the highest number of human cases since the disease first arrived in California in 2002,” said Dr. Kushner. “It is important for our residents to eliminate mosquito breeding in their backyards, report any mosquito breeding in public locations and take precautions to protect themselves against West Nile Virus.”
Avoiding mosquitoes can reduce the risk of exposure to WNV and other mosquito-borne diseases. Long Beach health officials are advising residents to take the following precautions:
• Avoid mosquito-infested areas especially at dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are most active.
• Mosquitoes can breed in standing water. Eliminate standing water on your property by draining water in neglected ponds, birdbaths, fountains, buckets, old tires or anything that can hold water. Recycle water for outdoor use instead of using potable water.
• 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 window screens are in good condition.
• Clean and chlorinate swimming pools and drain water from pool covers.
• Follow new restrictions and limit the watering of lawns and outdoor plants to Tuesdays and Saturdays, and avoid run off to gutters and around sprinklers.
• Report dead birds and dead tree squirrels to the California Department of Health Services by calling 1-877-WNV-Bird or online at www.westnile.ca.gov
For further information or to report mosquito breeding, contact the City of Long Beach Health Department Vector Control Program at 562.570.4132 or online at www.longbeach.gov/health
Further information about the WNV may be obtained at the State of California Department of Public Health website at www.westnile.ca.gov
, or at the Federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website at www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvbid/westnile