West Nile Virus Now Spreading In Southern California
Southern California is now experiencing a surge of West Nile virus cases, local officials say. Indications of West Nile are now being found in Northridge, Reseda, Signal Hill, and Carson. Officials are encouraging local residents to wear insect repellent before going outside to help prevent mosquito bites which spread the virus.
Mosquito populations are thriving in the region due to summer’s heat. One woman, reportedly in her 50s, was confirmed to be West Nile positive in Orange County. Last year, there were 12 total cases. In early August, the Orange County Mosquito and Vector Control District confirmed that several dead birds and a number of mosquitoes found in several Orange County cities were West Nile positive. Those cities included one of the most popular tourist destinations in the United States, Huntington Beach.
Officials now fear that this year’s spread could be a much worse situation as they advise precautions be taken.
“People over 50 years of age and those with certain medical conditions are at increased risk of serious complications from WNV infection,” the Health Care Agency said in a press release.
West Nile is an infectious disease that came to the United States in the late 90s. Symptoms include headaches, rashes, swollen lymph nodes, and aches throughout the body. West Nile is a member of the Flaviviridae family, which makes it related to Zika virus. While mosquitoes are the main cause of West Nile’s spread, birds are considered the main host of the illness. Therefore, mosquitoes which bite birds are the main danger to humans.
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Lately, the state of California is struggling to keep its head above water. A surging homeless population has resulted in thousands of middle-class workers living in their cars. Additionally, the growing homeless population continues to contribute to the spread of once rare illnesses, such as typhoid fever. The region has all the makings to prompt a major pandemic.
To lower your chances of infection, make sure to empty any standing water on your property that may attract infected mosquitoes. This includes pet bowls and areas around the yard that may collect rain waters and drainage. Mosquitoes are most active during the twilight hours of dawn and dusk, so limit activities during those times. It’s always best to cover up as much as possible by wearing long sleeves and long pants. This gives the mosquitoes less opportunity to bite.
Author: Jim Satney
PrepForThat’s Editor and lead writer for political, survival, and weather categories.