Susan Buckley, RN, Director, Public Health
Ira Singh, MPH, Deputy Director
Donald I. Baird, MD, Health Officer

Division of Environmental Health

PRESS RELEASE

Date Released: 5/24/2007
Subject: West Nile Virus Season has Started
Contact: Bob Hipp, Vector Control Program
Phone: (707) 445-6215

State Public Health Officer, Mike Horton, has declared an early start to the West Nile Virus (WNV) season due to the unusually warm temperatures throughout the state in March that has triggered the mosquitoes that carry WNV to breed earlier.

So far this year no human cases of WNV have been detected. However, the virus has been detected in mosquito pools, sentinel chickens, birds and a horse in eight counties: Imperial, Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, Santa Clara, San Diego, Sonoma and Stanislaus.

Due to the cooler temperatures in Humboldt County the Culex tarsalis mosquito, the carrier of WNV in Humboldt County, is not expected to emerge until mid-June and will be present in the area until the end of September.

The Humboldt County Division of Environmental Health wants to remind the public that there are three simple ways to protect themselves from WNV:

DEET - Apply insect repellent containing DEET, picaradin or oil of lemon eucalyptus according to label instructions. Repellents keep the mosquitoes from biting you. DEET can be used safely on infants and children 2 months of age and older.

DAWN and DUSK - Mosquitoes that carry WNV bite early in the morning and evening so it is important to wear repellent at this time. Make sure that your doors and windows have tight-fitting screens to keep the mosquitoes out. Repair or replace screens with tears and holes.

DRAIN Mosquitoes lay their eggs on standing water. Eliminate all sources of standing water on your property, including flower pots, old car tires, rain gutters, buckets and pet bowls. If you have a pond, use mosquito fish or commercially available products to eliminate mosquitoes. Ranchers and farmers are encouraged not to over irrigate their fields. Standing water in fields and adjacent ditches are prime breeding grounds for the WNV mosquito.

For more information on WNV contact the Humboldt County Division of Environmental Health at 707-445-6215 or log onto the State of California WNV Web site at www.westnile.ca.gov. The Web site has been updated to make it easier for the public to find the latest information on WNV activity in the state. In addition to reporting all dead birds, Californians are encouraged to report dead tree squirrels. The two tree squirrels native to Humboldt County are the Western Gray Squirrel and the Douglas Squirrel. The Web site also contains information on the most common birds found with WNV. Dead birds and squirrels can be reported on the Web site or by calling 877-968-2473.

 

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