15 October 2014
California may not have Ebola yet, but there's buzz of an equally incurable outbreak: mosquitoes buzzing with West Nile Virus in the San Fernando Valley.
The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) reported 31 human cases of West Nile Virus including 2 fatalities this week in Los Angeles county alone. So far in 2014, over 375 humans and 3,210 mosquitoes tested positive for West Nile Virus in California.
Three San Fernando Valley neighborhoods: Canoga Park, Sherman Oaks, and Encino discovered at least 9 mosquitoes with West Nile Virus, according to the Greater Los Angeles County Vector Control District (GLACVCD).
It's the highest level ever of West Nile Virus mosquito cases in California, according Dr. Ron Chapman, Director of CDPH. "First Ebola. Now this? Thanks, Obama!" he didn't add.
To help prevent West Nile Virus from spreading, CDPH prepared the public with "Three Ds" to practice:
DEET - Apply bug spray with DEET or oil of lemon eucalyptus, the latter which doubles as a koala aphrodisiac.
DAWN & DUSK - These are the times when mosquitoes are hungriest. Make sure your window and door screens are fixed to prevent unwanted mosquito break-ins while you're awakening or "asleeping".
DRAIN - Mosquitoes love popping out of Super Mario pipes when you least expect them. They also love to lay eggs on still water. So drain any water collected in flower pots, buckets, or high-risk pools. Remember, there's no cure for West Nile Virus. Not even in the other castle.
Certified Covered California insurance agents were as rare as a West Nile Virus mosquito, but now there's one case of each in Canoga Park.
Covered California agents in San Fernando Valley would like to provide the "Three Ds to Prevent Paying Out of Pocket for Treatment In Case You Get Ebola and/or West Nile Virus":
DRIVE to 7345 Topanga Canyon Blvd, Canoga Park and park in the back of the Covered California enrollment office: that's us!
DOOR - Open it and walk upstairs to your appointment.
DON'T FORGET to get your insurance card. It comes in the mail after you pay your first bill. An insurance card can be a handy mosquito swatter, so why not apply for one today?
1 in 5 infected with West Nile Virus develops fevers and fatigue that could last for weeks or months. 10% of people who develop neurological infection from West Nile Virus die. Unlike Ebola, 70-80 percent of people with West Nile Virus don't develop any symptoms, let alone garner any Presidential alerts, Twitter hash-trends, or South Park parodies.
GLACVCD spokeswoman, Kelly Middleton warned mosquitoes will continue to bite through November until California's first "significant cold snap". That could easily fall on November 15, the first day of open enrollment.
Until then, we'll keep close to the sentinel chickens living in our neighbor's yard. Not to be confused with mutant-killing robots on X-Men, sentinel chickens are immune to West Nile Virus and develop antibodies that are detectable to humans and help track infected mosquitoes.
So far, our neighbors don't seem too concerned. They haven't asked to buy insurance yet.