Local Mosquito Sample Collected Tests Positive For West Nile Virus

(FOX 11 / CNS) A sample of mosquitoes collected in Sylmar has tested positive for West Nile virus, the first such result in the state this year, authorities said Thursday.

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The sample of mosquitoes was collected on March 18, according to the Greater Los Angeles County Vector Control District.

"Last year, GLACVD confirmed the first WNV positive mosquito sample in May, which makes this year's confirmation about two months early," according to a district statement.

Kelly Middleton, the district's community affairs director, said the positive test result shows that mosquito season extends beyond summer.

"This year's warm winter has likely contributed to early WNV activity and may be indicative of increased risk in the (San Fernando) Valley this summer," she said. "Our residents need to understand this and take actions now to reduce their risks."

There is no cure for West Nile virus, which is transmitted to people through the bite of an infected mosquito.

One in five of those infected will exhibit symptoms that usually appear five to 15 days after exposure and can include fever, headache, body aches, nausea or a skin rash.

One in 150 people infected with the virus will require hospitalization, according to the district, which reports that severe symptoms include high fever, muscle weakness, neck stiffness, coma, paralysis and possibly death.

Residents are urged to eliminate mosquito breeding areas, such as water left standing for more than one week, be it in pools, fountains, flower pots, pet dishes or other places were it can collect, like clogged drain gutters, rain gutters, discarded tires, buckets, etc.

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