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California Mosquito Awareness Week highlights need to prepare for spring, summer mosquitoes

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April 19-25: L.A. County Safer-at-Home order presents opportunity for residents to curb mosquito bites at home

San Gabriel Valley, Calif. (April 16, 2020) – The increased attention on public health is a reminder of the many ways people can protect themselves from other public health concerns, including viruses spread through mosquito bites.

The San Gabriel Valley Mosquito & Vector Control District (SGVMVCD) joins mosquito control programs across the state to promote California Mosquito Awareness Week, April 19-25. This statewide campaign empowers residents to prevent mosquitoes year-round.

Mosquito control officials encourage residents under Safer-at-Home orders in Los Angeles County to take this opportunity to curb mosquito populations around the home.

“Do not give mosquitoes a biting chance when the weather warms,” said Levy Sun, San Gabriel Valley Mosquito & Vector Control District (SGVMVCD) public information officer. “Eliminating stagnant water now can stop mosquitoes from becoming a public health issue later.”

Let's not give mosquitoes a biting chance when the weather warms.

In Los Angeles County, West Nile virus (WNV) persists as the biggest mosquito-borne threat to residents. Los Angeles County WNV cases make up more than a third of the state’s total cases from the past three years, according to the California Department of Public Health.

Vector control officials are also concerned about aggressive, day-biting Aedes mosquitoes, due to their potential to vector (spread) Zika virus, dengue fever, yellow fever and chikungunya. There have been no confirmed local outbreaks of these viruses in San Gabriel Valley, however the presence of Aedes mosquitoes increases the risk.

“Take 10 minutes to tip out stagnant water and toss any unused containers around the home,” said Sun. “The window of opportunity to shut out mosquitoes is right now.”

Vector control experts advise residents take the following steps to bite back against mosquitoes:

  • Tip out stagnant water found in containers, including flower pots, old tires, buckets, saucers, and pet dishes.
  • Toss out unused containers to prevent mosquitoes from growing.
  • Protect against bites by applying insect repellent containing EPA-registered active ingredients, including DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, or IR3535. Always read label instructions.
  • Install screens on windows and doors, and keep them in good repair.
  • Report neglected swimming pools to mosquito and vector control.

If, after dumping stagnant water, residents continue to experience mosquito problems, they can submit a tip to SGVMVCD or call 626-814-9466.

In response to year-round mosquito-borne disease threats, SGVMVCD’s programs continue its efforts to reduce mosquito populations.

  • SGVMVCD paused in-person programs due to COVID-19 health orders, but staff will control mosquitoes in public sources, such as gutters, channels and storm drains.
  • The surveillance staff traps mosquitoes and sends samples of adult mosquitoes to be tested for diseases, such as West Nile virus and St. Louis Encephalitis.
  • Outreach and education will continue to remind everyone to take preventative measures against mosquitoes.

 

For additional information, please visit MosquitoAwareness.org.