IMPERIAL COUNTY — The Imperial County Public Health Department announced two additional mosquito pools have tested positive for Saint Louis Encephalitis (SLE) with one pool also testing positive for West Nile Virus (WNV). The mosquito pools were collected in the City of Imperial near La Paz Road, near South Palm Avenue in Brawley, and near West Main Street in El Centro. The sample from Brawley tested positive for both viruses.
The samples were collected between June 26 and 27 and results were received Friday, July 2.
The Imperial County Public Health Department announced four mosquito pools recently tested positive for Saint Louis Encephalitis (SLE). The mosquito pools were collected in the City of Imperial near La Paz Road and in the New River ravine area south of the Rio Bend RV park. The samples were collected June 12, and results were received June 19, according to the release.
“It is important for our community to stay vigilant, prevent mosquito breeding, and take precautions to prevent mosquito bites,” stated Stephen Munday, M.D., health officer for Imperial County. “These positive mosquito pools are evidence that this virus is 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 30 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.
Jeff Lamoure, deputy director of Environmental Health said, “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.
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 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’s website at http://www.icphd.org/environmental-health/bee---mosquitoes.