The health department has several
programs with responsibilities in the surveillance, prevention,
testing and investigation of West Nile Virus. In close collaboration with
the California State Department of Health Services and local Vector
Control Districts, surveillance of birds, sentinel chicken flocks and
mosquito pools are being increased.
WNV is spread to humans from the bite
of an infected mosquito; a mosquito is infected by biting a bird that
carries the virus. Most mosquitoes do not carry the virus and
most people bitten by a mosquito have not been exposed to the virus.
The virus is NOT spread by person -to-person contact or directly from
birds to humans. Last year, it was also demonstrated that WNV
infection could be transmitted through infected transplanted organs
and blood products. It should be noted, these newer methods of
transmission represent a very small proportion of WNV cases.
"Control of West Nile infection over
the long-term will require the collaboration of state and local
government agencies, as well as increased vigilance by the public to
eliminate sources of stagnant water where mosquitoes may breed,"
said Jonathan Fielding, M.D., M.P.H., Public Health Director and
County Health Officer.
Public Health is committed to
protecting and improving the health of the nearly 10 million residents
of Los Angeles County. Through a variety of programs, community
partnerships and services, Public Health oversees environmental
health, disease control and community and family health and comprises
more than 3,800 employees with an annual budget exceeding $465
For more information