EL CENTRO, Calif. (KYMA, KECY) – A new health threat for residents of Imperial – health officials say four mosquito pools have tested positive for Saint Luis Encephalitis (SLE).
The infected pools were discovered in Imperial near La Paz Road and he New River ravine south of the Rio Bend RV Park. Samples were collected on June 12. Results were received June 19.
“It is important for our community to stay vigilant, prevent mosquito breeding and take precautions to prevent mosquito bites,” said Stephen Munday, M.D., Health Officer for Imperial County.
“These positive mosquito pools are evidence that this virus is present in our community and that residents need to protect themselves and their families. We urge everyone to make it a habit to use mosquito repellent to protect themselves and their loved ones from mosquito-borne viruses.” Dr. Munday added.
Encephalitis is a swelling of the brain. It can be caused by bacteria, or, as in this case, it can be caused by a virus. Serious cases can be life-threatening. Symptoms include:
- loss of sensation.
SLE is transmitted to humans through the bite of an infected mosquito. The insects carry the disease after feeding on infected birds. You can reduce your risk of mosquito borne diseases by taking the following precautions:
• Limit time outdoors during dawn and early evening.
• 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
For general information about SLE or to report a problem with mosquitoes in Imperial County, please contact Environmental Health at (442) 265-1888. For information about SLE and other mosquito-borne viruses, visit the Imperial County Public Health Department’s website.