IMPERIAL COUNTY — Two local mosquito pools have tested positive for St. Louis encephalitis, the Imperial County Public Health Department announced Friday.
One of the mosquito pools was collected in El Centro near West Main Road just east of Austin Road. The other was in Imperial near the area of La Paz Drive and Puerto Vallarta Avenue. The samples were collected on Tuesday and results were received Friday.
“ As temperatures increase, so do mosquito populations and disease risk, which poses a serious public health threat in our communities,” said Imperial County Health Officer Dr. Stephen Munday. “Residents are strongly encouraged to check around properties and yards for mosquito breeding sources.”
The Public Health Department’s Vector Control Program has approximately 36 mosquito traps placed in strategic areas throughout the county, mostly within city limits. The traps are checked several times a week and mosquito pools are collected weekly.
“ Our agency will continue monitoring disease activity and treat affected areas,” said Jeff Lamoure, deputy director of environmental health. “Although the positive mosquitoes have been collected in limited areas, all county residents should take precautions, like wearing insect repellent and minimizing outdoor activity at dusk and dawn, when mosquitoes are most active.”
Symptoms of Saint Louis encephalitis (SLE) include fever, headache, nausea, vomiting and tiredness. Severe neuroinvasive disease (often involving encephalitis, an inflammation of the brain) is more common in older adults. There are no vaccines to prevent nor medications to treat
SLE is transmitted to humans through the bite of an infected mosquito. Mosquitoes become infected when they feed on infected birds.
Individuals can reduce their risk of mosquito-borne diseases by taking the following precautions:
· Limit time outdoors during dawn and early evening.
· When outdoors, wear loose-fitting, light-colored, long-sleeve shirts and pants when mosquitoes are most active (during dusk and dawn).
· Apply insect repellent that contains DEET, Picaridin, or oil of lemon eucalyptus according to label instructions to prevent mosquito bites.
· Make sure that doors and windows have tight-fitting screens. Repair or replace screens that have tears or holes.
· Eliminate all sources of standing water on your property that can support mosquito breeding by draining or eliminating, old tires, buckets, plastic covers, toys, or any other container where mosquitoes can breed; emptying and changing the water in bird baths, fountains, wading pools, rain barrels, and potted plant trays at least once a week to destroy potential mosquito habitats; draining or filling temporary pools of water with dirt; and keeping swimming pool water treated and circulating.
· Contact Vector Control if there is a significant mosquito problem where you live or work.
Persons who believe they or a member of their household has symptoms of SLE should contact their healthcare provide.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has a useful search tool that the public can use to find the repellent products most appropriate for them and their families. The tool is available at https://www.epa.gov/insect-repellents/find-repellent-right-you.
For additional information related to Saint Louis encephalitis, visit the California Department of Public Health Department’s website: https://www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CID/DCDC/Pages/SLE.aspx .