Five more dead birds found in Los Angeles County have tested positive for West Nile virus, and disease-control specialists were on high alert in anticipation of elevated virus activity through the summer, a health official said Tuesday.
The infected birds were collected from Lakewood, Cerritos, Downey and unincorporated Valley Village, said Crystal Brown of the Greater Los Angeles County Vector Control District, which is responsible for controlling mosquitoes in the region.
The new finds bring the total number of West Nile-positive dead birds to 21 for the county and 139 for the state this year.
"The data indicates that Los Angeles County is again the center of virus activity for Southern California," Brown said. "With another busy season, the district is on high alert."
Brown urged residents to take extra precautions to protect themselves and their families, including:
-- draining standing water in clogged rain gutters, rain barrels, discarded tires, buckets or other containers;
-- properly maintaining swimming pools, spas and ponds; and
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-- changing the water in pet dishes and replacing water in bird baths weekly.
To avoid being bitten by mosquitoes, Brown suggested that residents avoid activity between dusk and dawn when the insects are most active and wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants outdoors between dusk and dawn.
Brown also cited a recommendation by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to use mosquito repellents containing DEET, Picaridin or oil of lemon eucalyptus.