A chicken in the area has tested positive for the West Nile Virus, according to the Los Angeles County West Vector & Vector-Borne Disease Control District.
The West Nile Virus is a mosquito-borne illness. It most commonly affects birds, but can also spread to humans, mammals and reptiles. Those who frequent the Franklin Canyon area are advised to take precautionary measures against being bitten by infected mosquitoes.
Mosquitoes that carry the virus primarily bite in the early morning and evening. Repellents containing DEET, picaridin, IR3535 and oil of lemon eucalyptus are the most long-lasting and effective repellents.
Residents should also ensure that the doors and windows to their homes have tight-fitting screens to keep mosquitoes out. The insects lay their eggs in standing water and all sources of standing water should be eliminated from one's property, including flowerpots, rain gutters and pet water bowls. Swimming pools, hot tubs and ornamental ponds should be properly maintained. If you have a pond, use mosquito fish (you can obtain these fish free of cost from the district by calling 310-915-7370).
The public is encouraged to report dead birds to assist with West Nile Virus surveillance and control efforts by calling a toll-free hotline at 877-WNV-BIRD.
People affected with West Nile Virus fever can have a variety of symptoms, or none at all. Symptoms can include headaches, high fever, body aches, tiredness, rash and swollen lymph nodes. These symptoms can last from several days to a few weeks.
Symptoms of West Nile Neuroinvasive disease, which occurs when the virus affects a person's nervous system, can include severe headaches, high fever, neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness, paralysis and coma. This form of the disease can lead to long-lasting and in some cases permanent brain damage.
Those infected with West Nile Virus fever or West Nile Neuroinvasive disease will usually develop symptoms within 2-15 days of infection.
Thus far in 2011, there have been 75 separate ZIP codes in Los Angeles County that have recorded positive West Nile Virus accounts from dead birds, adult mosquitoes and sentinel chicken flocks.
This report was compiled with information from the Los Angeles County West Vector & Vector-Borne Disease Control District.