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West Nile Virus Detected in Pasadena For First Time in 3 Years

Published on Monday, July 26, 2021 | 8:49 pm
Vector Control Specialist Jackie Cordova collects mosquitoes caught in a surveillance trap to be tested for West Nile virus (Photo credit: San Gabriel Valley Mosquito & Vector Control District)

A local mosquito control official is urging the public to protect themselves from mosquito bites and intensify their mosquito prevention measures at home after West Nile virus was detected for the first time in Pasadena in 2021.

Levy Sun, communications director of the San Gabriel Valley Mosquito and Vector Control District (SGVMVCD), on Monday confirmed the detection of the virus in mosquito samples collected from traps set in Eaton Blanche Park in Pasadena.

Sun noted that this is the first time in three years that officials detected the West Nile virus in Pasadena.

The announcement comes a week after the Greater Los Angeles County Vector Control District (GLACVCD) announced the detection of the virus in its service area.

“We detected a West Nile virus in the community around Eaton Blanche Park,” Sun said.

“That is just one indicator that maybe that points to a widespread West Nile virus activity [not] in just that area, but throughout Pasadena. That’s because these mosquitoes and the birds that carried the virus can fly for miles around,” Sun added.

Aside from emptying containers and covering surfaces that hold stagnant water and protecting oneself from mosquito bites through insect repellent, Sun also urged the public to look out for dead birds they may find in their community since West Nile virus can be carried by birds.

“It’s important that residents look out for any dead birds in the community so they can report it to the state so that we can pick it up,” Sun said.

Sun also advised the public to go see a doctor if they exhibit any flu-like symptoms, which is “very similar” to Covid-19 symptomatology.

Sun explained that although people infected with West Nile virus do not always exhibit symptoms, one in 150 people infected with the virus may end up with a “neuro-invasive condition,” which would require hospitalization.

“I would say that if you exhibit any flu-like symptoms, go to see a doctor to get checked out and make sure that it isn’t anything worse than perhaps just a mild cold or a fever,” Sun said.

Aside from the West Nile virus, Sun said the SGVMVCD is also concerned about the possible detection of Zika virus in Pasadena.

“Our agency is still concerned about Zika because the mosquitoes that can spread it are in Pasadena.”

“So the fear here is someone traveling somewhere that may have Zika or even yellow fever or dengue fever, getting sick and coming back home to Pasadena where these mosquitoes are and the local mosquitoes in Pasadena bite that person to then start an outbreak,” Sun said.

Last July 9, the California Department of Public Health announced the first reported death from the West Nile virus in California this year.

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