IMPERIAL COUNTY – The Imperial County Public Health Department announced Monday in a press release that a mosquito pool recently tested positive for Saint Louis Encephalitis (SLE). The mosquito pool was collected in the townsite of Niland near Noffsinger Road. The samples were collected on September 1st and results were received September 3rd. Of the 20 pools collected throughout Imperial County, only one in Niland was found to be positive.
“It is important for our community to stay vigilant, prevent mosquito breeding and take precautions to prevent mosquito bites,” Stephen Munday, M.D., Health Officer for Imperial County said in the release. “These positive mosquito pools are evidence that these viruses are present in our community and that residents need to protect themselves and their families. We urge everyone to make it a habit to use mosquito repellent to protect themselves and their loved ones from mosquito-borne viruses.”
The Public Health Department’s Vector Control Program has over 20 traps placed in strategic areas throughout the county, mostly within city limits, the release said. The traps are checked several times a week and mosquito pools are collected weekly.
Jeff Lamoure, Deputy Director of Environmental Health said in the release, “Our vector control staff is constantly looking for the presence of mosquito-borne viruses in our community. These positive mosquito pools were detected as a result of a robust surveillance program.”
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, according to the press release.
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.
- Keeping swimming pool water treated and circulating.
- Contact Vector Control if there is a significant mosquito problem where you live or work.
If you think you or anyone in your household has symptoms that are causing you concern, contact your healthcare provider.
The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) 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 general information about SLE or to report a problem with mosquitoes in Imperial County please contact Environmental Health at (442) 265-1888. For information about SLE and other mosquito-borne viruses , visit the Imperial County Public Health Department website:http://www.icphd.org/environmental-health/bee---mosquitoes