Mosquitoes carrying West Nile virus have been detected at Cal Poly Pomona by the San Gabriel Valley Mosquito and Vector Control District.
The university is one of two locations where the virus has been discovered in the San Gabriel Valley so far this season. It was also found at Cortez Park in West Covina.
Since arriving in Southern California in 2003, West Nile virus has become a permanent part of the ecosystem. There has been only one human case reported in Los Angeles County so far this year, and zero cases in San Bernardino, Riverside and Orange counties, according to www.westnile.ca.gov.
Vector control officials say it’s common to find mosquitoes across the state carrying the virus during the late summer and that it has been detected on campus in past years.
“We encourage the university community and visitors to campus to be prudent when they are outdoors, especially in the early morning and late evening when mosquitoes are more active,” says Tim Lynch, associate vice president for university relations. “Wearing the right clothing and using insect repellant are good safeguards.”
The university works with vector control to eliminate standing pools and stagnant water from campus and trains staff members on performing twice-weekly inspections.
When a human infection occurs, it rarely produces symptoms, with only about 20 percent of those infected experiencing a fever, headache, sore throat, muscle aches, joint pain and fatigue for one to two weeks.
“We want to make sure people understand that we’re not discouraging them from using outdoor spaces or being outside,” says Jason Farnad, a spokesman for SGV Vector Control. “We just want people to be aware that the threat is there and that they need to take precautions.”
Those precautions include:
- Using insect repellents that can be applied directly to the skin (DEET or oil of lemon eucalyptus, for example)
- Wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants, especially during peak mosquito hours (dawn and dusk)
- Eliminating or emptying containers that can hold standing water and allow mosquitoes to breed (flower pots, rain gutters, bird baths, old tires, buckets and pool covers)
- Keeping doors and windows at home closed and making sure windows have screens without holes or tears.
- Reporting large amounts of mosquitoes, standing water and green swimming pools to the San Gabriel Valley Mosquito and Vector Control District at (626) 814-9466 or sgvmosquito.org.
- Reporting dead birds (a sign of West Nile virus) on the West Nile virus hotline at (877) 968-2473 or go to westnile.ca.gov.
To report standing water or mosquitoes on campus, contact Environmental Health & Safety at (909) 869-4697 or at http://www.cpp.edu/~ehs/contact-us/standing-water.shtml.
To contact Student Health Services, call (909) 869-4000.