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Great horned owl tests positive for West Nile Virus


A great horned owl recently tested positive for West Nile virus in Lancaster, the second indication of West Nile virus in the Antelope Valley for the 2022 season.

The sick owl was discovered near 30th Street East and Avenue H, according to a news release from the Antelope Valley Mosquito and Vector Control District (AVMVCD).

“The owl was alive but ill when it was picked up by a veterinarian and taken to the Ojai Raptor Center for care,” said Karen Mellor, district entomologist. The owl is reportedly recovering at the facility.

The first indication of West Nile virus in the Antelope Valley for the 2022 season was reported last month. The AVMVCD reported on June 14 that mosquitoes collected from a trap near 40th Street East and Avenue J-8 in Lancaster had tested positive for West Nile virus.

West Nile virus is the leading cause of mosquito-borne disease in the United States, and is most commonly spread to people by the bite of an infected mosquito. People diagnosed with West Nile virus may experience flu-like symptoms that can include fever, body aches, skin rash, and fatigue. In some people, West Nile virus can develop into a more serious form of the disease and can even be fatal.

Hot weather is ideal for breeding mosquitoes, which can go from egg to adult in just five days in stagnant water. AVMVCD officials are urging residents to do their part to protect themselves from mosquito bites by following these recommendations:

  • ● Check property for standing water and get rid of it.
  • ● When mosquitoes are active, use EPA registered insect repellents that contain one of these main ingredients: DEET, Picaridin, Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus, IR3535 according to label instructions.
  • ● If weather permits, wear clothes that cover as much skin as possible.
  • ● Make sure screens on windows and doors are in good repair to avoid mosquitoes in the home.
  • ● Check around faucets and air conditioner units, and repair leaks or puddles that remain for several days.
  • ● Report daytime biting mosquitoes to the AVMVCD at (661) 942-2917.
  • ● Report stagnant pools and other backyard sources to the AVMVCD at (661) 942-2917.
  • ● Report dead birds by calling (800) WNV-BIRD (877) 968-2473.