West Nile virus is haunting Mission Viejo

With one mating partner, a mosquito can lay 100 – 200 eggs every three nights

Puddle at Saddleback College. Photo credit: Lariat

Mission Viejo is a city surrounded by water. But wherever water is found, many organisms and insects can be seen as well. The major water points that are natural do not have water circulators that continuously circulate the water to prevent insects from reproducing.

The mosquito is the primary insect that we can see the effects in Orange County. The insect will lay eggs three different times, and then the mosquito will die. A female mosquito will live up to 50 days while a male can live for ten days.

When a mosquito bites, the insect sucks a small amount of blood to feed itself. But sometimes the bug can be carrying a disease or parasite.

The Orange County Mosquito and Vector Control District captured a mosquito and tested it for the West Nile virus. Unfortunately, the test came back positive. This virus can have symptoms that consist, but are not limited to:

  • Fever
  • Head and body aches
  • hives
  • swelling of lymph nodes

Thankfully not all mosquitos carry this virus but only those that feed on a bird that already has the virus.

The City of Mission Viejo released an article on how to prevent being bitten by a West Nile mosquito:

  • Apply mosquito repellent to exposed skin before going outdoors; reapply as recommended.
  • Wear repellent containing DEET, Picaridin, IR3535, or oil of lemon or eucalyptus.
  • Close all unscreened doors and windows to prevent mosquitoes from entering your home.
  • Repair broken or damaged screens.
  • Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants and opt for lighter-colored clothing.
  • Dump and drain containers filled with water at least once a week.
  • Clean and scrub bird baths and pet water bowls weekly.
  • Dump water from potted plant saucers.

Saddleback College, being directly next to a canyon with running and still water, has seen the West Nile virus on almost an annual basis, so be cautious and prevent it before you are bitten.