Individuals are encouraged to use personal protection and to eliminate mosquito breeding sources.
IMPERIAL COUNTY- The Imperial County Public Health Department announced Monday, July 19, that two local mosquito pools have tested positive for Saint Louis Encephalitis (SLE). The mosquito pools were collected in the city of El Centro near West Main Road just east of Austin Road and in the city of Imperial near the area of La Paz Drive and Puerto Vallarta Avenue. The samples were collected on July 13th and results were received July 16th.
“As temperatures increase, so do mosquito populations and disease risk, which poses a serious
public health threat in our communities,” said Stephen Munday, M.D., Health Officer in a recent press release. “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, the report said.
“Our agency will continue monitoring disease activity and treat affected areas,” said Jeff Lamoure, deputy director of Environmental Health per the report. “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.
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 toprevent 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 mosquitos can breed.
- Emptying and changing the water in birdbaths, 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 health care 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 additional information related to Saint Louis Encephalitis, please visit the California Department of Public Health Department’s website: https://www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CID/DCDC/Pages/SLE.aspx.