West Nile Virus – in the form of human cases – has arrived in Stanislaus County.
County Public Health has received reports that two women, a 72-year-old and a 36-year-old, have been infected with the West Nile Virus (WNV). These are the first human cases of WNV reported in the county this year. One of the two cases was hospitalized.
Stanislaus County residents, including those in Oakdale and Riverbank, are encouraged to continue their efforts with regards to WNV prevention. People can use these simple steps to help people protect themselves and others from mosquito bites and WNV:
• Eliminate sources of standing water where mosquitoes lay their eggs.
• 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 when outdoors, according to label instructions.
• In addition to DEET-based products, the Centers for Disease Control also recommends insect repellants containing oil of lemon eucalyptus and Picaridin.
Both East Side and Turlock Mosquito Abatement Districts have been busy treating mosquito habitats using ground and aerial spray equipment. The Districts use aircraft in rural locations and ground equipment for more precision spraying in urbanized areas. The Districts continue to be concerned with neglected swimming pools. They are conducting aerial surveillance photography for neglected swimming pools. The Districts also provide mosquito fish, free of charge, to put in ornamental ponds and other backyard locations.
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).
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 East Side 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.