Five additional Los Angeles-area mosquito samples have tested positive for West Nile virus — including first-time detections this year in the Los Feliz neighborhood of Los Angeles and in Glendale, plus three additional detections in Bellflower, Granada Hills and San Marino — the Greater LA County Vector Control District announced Monday.
That brings the number of positive mosquito samples in the LA Vector District this season to 35, according to the GLACVCD.
The Los Feliz case was detected on July 19, while the Glendale positive result was detected on July 20.
The Granada Hills and San Marino positive tests were both detected on June 28 and bring the number of cases in each community so far this season to four — most in the district. Whittier also has four positive detections.
Bellflower’s most recent positive detection occurred on June 2 and brought that city’s case total to three so far this season.
Less than a month ago, on July 5, the LA vector agency had detected just three positive samples in the district — two in San Marino and one in Bellflower.
According to GLACVCD, West Nile virus is endemic to LA, and warm temperatures can increase virus activity and mosquito populations.
“Mosquitoes can complete their life cycle in less than a week in a water source as small as a bottle cap,” Mary-Joy Coburn, GLACVCD’s director of communications, said in a statement Monday.
“We urge all Angelenos to conduct routine property inspections for mosquito breeding sources, or contact the district to inspect and treat the source.”
The West Nile virus season typically runs from summer through fall, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. People catch it from a bite from an infected mosquito, which contracts the virus when it feeds on an infected bird.
Last year, 148 human West Nile cases were reported in California, including 17 in LA County.
This year, seven human cases have been reported in the state as of July 29, according to the California Department of Public Health.
Most people infected with the virus so not feel sick, but about 1 in 5 who are infected develop a fever and other symptoms, according to the CDC. About 1 in 150 infected people develop a serious, sometimes fatal, illness, CDC data show.
Statewide, 702 mosquito samples have tested positive as of July 29, and 49 dead birds have been found with the virus, the state health department reported. Two sentinel chickens and two horses have also tested positive statewide.
Because there is no human vaccine or cure for West Nile virus, the vector agency recommends that residents be proactive by using mosquito repellents — but warns that not all of them work equally well.
The CDC recommends products with the active ingredients DEET, Picaridin, IR3535, or oil of lemon eucalyptus as being safe and effective against mosquitoes that can transmit diseases when used according to the labels.
The GLACVCD also recommends taking these additional steps:
— eliminate standing water in clogged rain gutters, rain barrels, discarded tires, buckets, watering troughs or anything that holds water for more than a week;
— ensure that swimming pools, spas and ponds are properly maintained;
— change the water in pet dishes, bird baths and other small containers weekly
— request mosquitofish from your local vector control district for placement in ornamental ponds, and
— report neglected (green) swimming pools in your neighborhood to your vector control district.