The first confirmed cases of West Nile Virus have been reported in Stanislaus County.
East Side Mosquito Abatement District announced that two dead birds tested positive for West Nile Virus (WNV) from the City of Modesto. This is the first detection of WNV activity in the county this year. As of June 20, 2013, WNV has been detected in 14 California counties, including neighboring San Joaquin County, with the WNV activity confirmed in 17 dead birds, 39 mosquito samples, no horses, and one human case that resulted in a fatality.
According to officials, reporting and testing of dead birds is an important step in preventing West Nile Virus. A confirmed case of the virus in dead birds or mosquito samples helps to identify areas that need treatment to reduce mosquito activity. To report a dead bird, call the California State hotline at 1-877-WNV-BIRD or report it online at www.westnile.ca.gov. Birds of particular interest to the State are crows, ravens, magpies, jays and raptors (hawk or eagle).
As the Fourth of July approaches, both East Side and Turlock Mosquito Abatement Districts encourage the citizens of Stanislaus County to continue their efforts with WNV prevention. People can also use these simple steps to help people protect themselves and others from mosquito bites and WNV:
• Eliminate sources of standing water. During warm weather, mosquitoes can breed within four days.
• Change the water in pet dishes and regularly replace water in birdbaths.
• Drill holes in tire swings so water can drain.
• Avoid spending time outside when mosquitoes are most active, at dawn and dusk, and especially for the first two hours after sunset.
• When outdoors, wear long pants, long-sleeved shirts and other protective clothing.
• Exclude mosquitoes from your home with tight fitting screens on doors and windows.
• Apply insect repellent containing the active ingredient DEET according to label instructions when outdoors.
• In addition to DEET-based products, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention also recommends insect repellants containing oil of lemon eucalyptus and Picaridin.
To report mosquito-breeding problem areas, Stanislaus County residents should contact one of the two mosquito abatement districts that serve the county. For Stanislaus County addresses north of the Tuolumne River, residents should call the Eastside Mosquito Abatement District at 522-4098 (www.eastsidemosquito.com) and all others should contact the Turlock Mosquito Abatement District at 634-1234 (turlockmosquito.org).
For more information, call the West Nile virus hotline at (209) 558-8425 to hear recorded information in both English and Spanish. You can also visit www.stanemergency.com for WNV information. The website includes maps showing locations of WNV-infected mosquito samples, dead birds, and horses.