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Health officials launch door-to-door campaign against West Nile Virus in Los Feliz area

Photo by CDC/ James Gathany

Photo by CDC/ James Gathany

Officials will be going door-to-door in the Los Feliz-Glendale area on Wednesday, Sept. 20 to warn residents about the risks posed by the potentially deadly West Nile Virus after the area emerged as a hotspot for the mosquito-borne disease.

The Greater Los Angeles County Vector Control District, the public health agency charged with fighting mosquito-borne illnesses, is taking extra precautionary steps after about a dozen human cases of West Nile virus have been detected in the Glendale-Los Feliz area since the beginning of the year, according to county health statistics. That represents nearly 15% of the 81 human cases reported so far in the county.

“Residents in Glendale, Los Feliz, Atwater Village, and Elysian Valley are at higher risk of getting sick from mosquitoes carrying West Nile Virus,” according to a district press release. “Test results to date indicate a significant increase in WNV infection in Culex mosquitoes from these communities even though mosquito numbers in these areas are lower than the 5-year average. At this time of year, mosquito bite prevention is most important.”

District employees will be distributing educational materials to residents. In addition, the agency will partner with local officials to urge residents to prevent bites by wearing insect repellent and eliminating standing water sources around their yards and patios.

While temperatures have been cooling off as fall approaches, officials said that the mosquito-borne disease will continue to pose a threat across the county, not just in the Glendale-Los Feliz area.

Infection with WNV is often mild, but the virus can cause significant cognitive and neurologic symptoms in some patients. Milder fever and body aches can progress to weakness, confusion, and paralysis which can take months to years of recovery, or even result in a patient’s death.

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