The Imperial County Public Health Department announced this week that a mosquito pool has tested positive for Saint Louis Encephalitis (SLE). The mosquito pool was collected on 2nd Street, in the Bombay Beach area on Monday, October 10th.
The mosquito pool which contained tarsal mosquitos is the first positive SLE result this year for the Bombay Beach area. So far this year, there have been no confirmed cases of human infection from SLE in Imperial County.
“The tarsal mosquito is most commonly associated with flood water areas. The mosquitoes may have bred in residual standing water from the most recent storm in the area,” said Jeff Lamoure, Deputy Director of Environmental Health. “We are very confident mosquito breeding is not occurring in the Salton Sea due to the high salinity levels”. The Public Health Department’s Vector Control Program has approximately 28 mosquito 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.
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.
Imperial County residents are encouraged to precautions, like wearing insect repellent and minimizing outdoor activity from dusk to dawn, when mosquitoes are most active.
- 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 that 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 mosquitos can breed.
– Emptying and changing the water in birdbaths, 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
To report a problem with mosquitoes in Imperial County please contact Environmental Health at (442) 265-1888. For additional information related to Saint Louis Encephalitis, please visit the California Department of Public Health Department website: https://www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CID/DCDC/Pages/SLE.aspx