Studio City neighborhood will be sprayed due to high West Nile virus numbers, elevated mosquito activity

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A field sample of mosquitoes that could carry West Nile Virus is seen at offices of the Riverside County Department of Environmental Health on April 26, 2007, in Hemet. (Credit: David McNew/Getty Images)

A field sample of mosquitoes that could carry West Nile Virus is seen at offices of the Riverside County Department of Environmental Health on April 26, 2007, in Hemet. (Credit: David McNew/Getty Images)

After a high number of mosquito samples came back positive for West Nile virus, officials on Tuesday announced they will be spraying a Studio City neighborhood this week to curb disease transmission. 

Studio City is one of several areas seeing elevated mosquito and West Nile virus activity in the county, including North Hollywood, Valley Village, Downey and Pico Rivera, according to the Greater Los Angeles County Vector Control District.

A truck with mounted mosquito control treatment will drive through the neighborhood from 2 a.m. to 5 a.m. Aug. 27, spraying a substance that is a naturally occurring bacterium found in soils and has proteins that specifically target mosquito larvae.

Vector Control officials said the treatment isn’t toxic to humans or pets and won’t damage the finishes on cars or homes. They hope it would decrease the mosquito population in the area and lower the risk of potential disease transmission.

 The affected area stretches between Colfax and Tujunga avenues and between Moorpark Street and the Los Angeles River. 

“While mosquito activity is increasing throughout the County, this particular area in Studio City has just the right conditions for this treatment application to be the most effective,” Vector Control official Susanne Kluh said.

Residents may not notice a significant reduction right away, as it usually takes a couple weeks to see any changes, spokeswoman Mary-Joy Coburn said.

L.A. County health officials on Aug. 12 reported this year’s first death linked to West Nile virus in the county. In 2019, there were 29 West Nile virus cases and three deaths.

The virus is transmitted to people and animals through the bite of an infected mosquito. 

Most people don’t experience severe symptoms when infected, and those over 60 are at greater risk, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Symptoms of severe illness include high fever, headache, neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness, vision loss, numbness and paralysis. 

As of last week, L.A. County had reported a total of 108 mosquito samples positive for West Nile virus this year. Each sample sent to the lab for testing can have a handful to 200 mosquitos that were caught in traps set up in different communities. 

To reduce mosquito populations in communities, officials advise residents to get rid of standing water in places like clogged rain gutters, rain barrels, buckets, watering troughs, and make sure swimming pools, spas, and ponds are properly maintained. Water in pet dishes, birdbaths and other small containers should be changed weekly.

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