Mosquitos buzz onto campus
With the West Nile virus still a looming problem, staff advise students of preventative measures. | Caleb Raney/THE CHIMES
Representatives from Los Angeles County responded to reports of mosquito breeding grounds on campus and urge students to be vigilant against the West Nile virus presence in La Mirada.
West Nile virus samples confirmed positive
Facilities management received approximately four reports of bug bites, according to manager of Custodial Services Matt Johnston. After determining they were likely due to mosquitos, facilities contacted the Greater Los Angeles County Vector Control District. Representatives from the county arrived to test areas of standing water on Sept. 26.
Four of the eight West Nile virus samples this year confirmed positive in La Mirada areas close to campus. Though this amount remains relatively usual, public information officer of the Vector Control District Levy Sun recommends caution.
“West Nile virus is present throughout Southern California and it is unfortunately normal to observe West Nile virus every year, even in La Mirada. This means vector control will continue to monitor mosquito populations and our control teams are making sure the public sources, such as the La Mirada Creek, are free of mosquito breeding,” Sun said in an email.
Director of the Student Health Center Kristin Phelps encourages students to use insect repellant and to report areas of standing water where mosquitoes lay eggs to facilities management. She also reminds students of the low probability of showing their showing critical symptoms.
“Most people that are healthy if they would contract it either don’t have symptoms or they’re very mild. So they don’t even, many times, notice they would even have it. Severe symptoms are pretty unusual or rare, especially in the age group that we have here,” Phelps said.
Equiped to deal
Some mild symptoms of the West Nile virus include fever, headache, nausea, vomiting and body aches. Such effects usually fade after some time, though Phelps advises students speak to a physician if they begin to feel the symptoms.
Despite the presence of the virus and the mosquitos that carry it in La Mirada, Johnston remains confident Biola is equipped to deal with the breeding grounds. After the Vector Control District treated the areas of concern, including storm drains near Sutherland and the Fine Arts building, it provided facilities management with larvicide to maintain the mosquito population.
“I don’t think [students] should be overly concerned, but I mean, the bites are irritating if nothing else,” Johnston said. “Because there is the West Nile virus in the area, though, I think it makes sense to take precautions.”
The Vector Control District was unable to test the entirety of the campus for mosquitoes in its initial survey due to the size of the area. Johnston expects them to return soon and to regularly monitor the situation.
Despite the seemingly low risk, Sun encourages awareness of the virus and the mosquitos which transmit it.
“Don’t let one mosquito bite send you to the hospital and potentially ruin your school year. Use insect repellent if you’re going to be outside. When it comes to a healthy community, everyone needs to pitch in and do their part,” Sun said in an email.