By Christine V. Amstutz RN MN
Supervisor Health Services
Much has been written lately in our local newspapers advising Santa Clarita Valley residents that the West Nile Virus (WNV) has been reported. Although there is not a reason to panic there are several things each one of us can do to protect family, community and ourselves. The virus is here to stay until enough humans and animals contract it and become immune.
Because WNV is a disease (characterized as flu- like symptoms) that is transmitted to humans by mosquitoes, mosquito abatement measures are necessary. The virus is carried long distances by infected birds and then spread locally by mosquitoes that bite these birds. It is NOT spread from person to person. In other words you cannot get sick by touching or kissing a person who has WNV, or from a health care worker who has treated someone with the disease.
Please remember our pools, spas, ponds, birdbaths, fountains, etc. is shared watering holes for birds and mosquitoes. Mosquitoes need water also to lay their eggs. Stocking garden ponds with goldfish or mosquito fish are helpful in mosquito abatement. We can protect family, community and ourselves from mosquito bites using any repellent containing DEET. Spray according to the amount of time you are going to be outside and use the least concentration (4-30%). The Public Health Department recommends washing off the spray each time before you re-spray the repellent. Recently, Communicable Disease Control (CDC) released new options of insect repellent when out of doors. The new options include the addition of two active ingredients-picaridin and oil of lemon eucalyptus, which join those repellents that contain DEET as highly effective in warding off mosquitoes
An excellent checklist to home and garden maintenance in both English and Spanish can be found at:
Other resources in various languages include:
National Pesticide Information center (NPIC) http://npic.orst.edu or phone: (800) 858-7378