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Stay informed: West Nile and Zika virus prevention

Stay informed: West Nile and Zika virus prevention

Just as in every recent summer, West Nile virus mosquitoes have been found again in Lakewood and dozens of other Southern California cities.

Lakewood CityTV created a video to explain what you can do to protect yourself. The video also includes an interview with a Lakewood resident who contracted West Nile virus from a mosquito bite. Watch it at www.lakewoodcity.org/WestNileVideo.

It only takes one bite to be exposed to West Nile virus. The transmission time period spans from July through October, with cases picking up later in the summer and into early fall, so staying vigilant is important.

Mosquitoes can quickly breed in water left standing for just a few days. Serious illness and even death can result from mosquito-borne diseases like West Nile virus and the new threat of the Zika virus.

Zika is transmitted by the small Aedes mosquito and has serious repercussions for pregnant women. Aedes mosquitoes can live indoors or outdoors. Eggs are laid along the waterline of any water-holding container such as flower vases, plant saucers, buckets, used tires, and even plants that hold water, like bamboo or bromeliads. Eggs can remain alive for years, and hatch into larvae when conditions are right.

Look for:

  • small, black mosquitoes with white stripes
  • mosquitoes active and biting during the day — even indoors!
  • immature mosquitoes (larvae and pupae) swimming in stagnant water.

To find out the current status of Aedes mosquitoes in the community, check and bookmark this link.

Report black-and-white, daytime-biting mosquitoes to the Greater L.A. County Vector Control District at 562-944-9656 or www.ReportMosquitoes.org. This FREE service includes inspection and treatment.

Remember the “3 Ds” of mosquito protection:

  • DEET: Use insect repellant containing DEET, Picaridin or oil of lemon eucalyptus to keep mosquitoes away. Prevent mosquitoes from invading your home by ensuring window screens are intact.
  • Dawn & Dusk: Dawn and dusk are the most active time for most mosquitoes. If you must be outdoors at those times, wear long-sleeve shirts and pants and insect repellant. NOTE: The Aedes mosquito is active during the day.
  • Drain: Clear your yard of any standing water, including water pooling at the bottom of plant saucers. Check toys or other small items left standing in water and wash them thoroughly if kept. Mosquito eggs laid in cracks are hard to detect and can live for up to a year. Remove or drill holes in the bottom of all plant pots, saucers, barrels, bins and old tires.

Untreated swimming pools can be reported to Lakewood City Hall by calling 562-866-9771, extension 2140, or emailing service1@lakewoodcity.org.

Residents finding any dead birds or squirrels (which could be a sign of West Nile virus) can report them by calling the West Nile Virus Dead Bird Hotline at 877-968-2473.