First West Nile virus illness confirmed in Inyo County

Staff Writer

A majority of people who are bit by a WNV-infected mosquito will not experience any symptoms. However, about 20% will experience flu-like symptoms that last a few days and resolve on their own. A very small number- about 1 out of every 150 people who contract WNV- will develop a more serious neurologic illness that may lead to lasting neurological damage or death. Three WNV-related deaths have been reported statewide so far this year, according to the California West Nile virus website.
A record seven WNV positive mosquito samples have been collected in Inyo County so far this year. According to Rob Miller of the Owens Valley Mosquito Abatement Program (OVMAP), “West Nile virus was last detected in 2011, and in that year only one positive sample was found”. Extraordinary runoff conditions and associated water spreading activities by the City of Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) this summer have led to an enormous increase in mosquito breeding habitat throughout the Owens Valley.
Nate Reade, Agricultural Commissioner for Inyo County, said he “praised LADWP’s offer to assist” and that resources provided by LADWP will “most certainly reduce the threat that mosquitoes pose to our towns in the Owens Valley”.
“While residents and visitors may begin to see a significant reduction in mosquito activity following aggressive mosquito control operations, it is still very important for individuals to continue to protect themselves from mosquito bites in order to avoid West Nile virus infection,” says Dr. JamesRichardson, Inyo County Health officer.

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