Quality Improvement - West Nile

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West Nile Virus Notification from the University Campus Health Center

As you may be aware, West Nile virus is now in California. West Nile virus is spread to humans and animals through mosquito bites. So far there have only been four reports of human infection in LA County (those people fully recovered). In 2003 there were nearly 10,000 cases of human infection in the United States. West Nile viral illness in humans is rare and generally mild when it occurs, but you may have heard that some birds in LA County are getting infected with the West Nile virus and dying. Thus far over one hundred zip codes in LA County, including 90032, have reports of birds that have died from West Nile virus infection. If you find a dead bird in your community call the CountyÂ’s dead bird reporting hotline at 1-877-747-2243 for reporting and instructions. If you find a dead bird on campus between 8AM to 4PM, Monday thru Friday, then you should leave the bird as is (even though touching a dead bird will not spread infection) and contact Facilities at extension 3340. If you find a dead bird on campus during the weekend or between 4PM and 8AM then contact Public Safety at extension 3700.

While only a small percentage of mosquitoes are infected with the virus, to avoid West Nile virus infection you have to try to avoid mosquito bites. The best ways to prevent mosquito bites are:

checkApply Insect Repellent Containing DEET
(Look for: N, N-diethyl-meta-toluamide) to exposed skin when you go outdoors.  Those campus departments where employees routinely are working outdoors are considering stocking such repellent for business use.

checkClothing Can Help Reduce Mosquito Bites
When possible, wear long-sleeves, long pants and socks when outdoors. Mosquitoes may bite through thin clothing, so spraying clothes with repellent containing permethrin or DEET will give extra protection. Don't apply repellents containing permethrin directly to skin. Do not spray repellent containing DEET on the skin under your clothing.

checkBe Aware of Peak Mosquito Hours
The hours from dusk to dawn are peak mosquito biting times for many species of mosquitoes. Take extra care to use repellent and protective clothing during evening and early morning -- or consider avoiding outdoor activities during these times.

checkDrain Standing Water
Mosquitoes lay their eggs in standing water. Limit the number of places around your home for mosquitoes to breed by getting rid of items that hold water.  Facilities and Environmental Health and Safety staff are monitoring the campus for sources of standing water.

checkInstall or Repair Screens
Some mosquitoes like to come indoors. Keep them outside by having well-fitting screens on both windows and doors.

Most people who get infected with the West Nile virus will not experience any illness.  It is estimated that about 20% of the people who become infected will develop West Nile fever.  The symptoms include fever, headache, tiredness, and body aches, occasionally with a skin rash on the trunk of the body and swollen lymph glands.  The symptoms of severe infection (West Nile encephalitis or meningitis) include headache, high fever, neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness, and paralysis. It is estimated that approximately 1 in 150 persons infected with the West Nile virus will develop a more severe form of disease.  Most people who develop severe infection are over fifty years of age.  Once again, most people who become ill from West Nile virus infection only experience mild flu-like symptoms for a few days.  There is no vaccine at present and no specific treatment that destroys the virus.

If you are a student and you believe that you might have West Nile fever then visit the Student Health Center or see your personal physician.  If you have symptoms associated with severe infection then you should go to a hospital for evaluation and treatment.  If you are a Cal State L.A. employee and you feel that you have West Nile virus infection then you should consult with your health care provider or go to the hospital if you have symptoms of severe infection.

More information about West Nile virus can be found at:

Cal State L.A.Â’s Environmental Health and Safety website:

LA County Department of Health Services:


Visit www.calstatela.edu.univ/hlth_ctr/CQI.htm to learn more about the Student Health CenterÂ’s Continuous Quality Improvement Program (CQI).