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: 3/22/2004
Subject: West Nile Surveillance 2004
Contact: Brian Cox, Director of Environmental Health
Phone: (707) 445-6215

State, County to resume West Nile Surveillance April 1st

As springtime mosquitoes begin to emerge throughout the state, public health and mosquito control agencies are gearing up to resume the search for West Nile Virus here in California. The virus, passed by mosquitoes to birds, horses, and humans first entered southern California late last fall. Humboldt County has prepared for the
northward movement and possible arrival of West Nile with a plan of action and a watchful eye.

“ We have no history of mosquito borne disease here in Humboldt”, said Brent Whitener, the Vector Control Officer at the Division of Environmental Health. “ Our local mosquitoes can certainly be a nuisance. They can bite and ruin your picnic, but will not make you sick.” Other jurisdictions in California require active mosquito control programs to control disease risk and nuisance for residents, according to Whitener.

He advises that one mosquito, called Culex, is a very important part of the West Nile equation. Mosquito surveillance conducted in Humboldt County last year found that this mosquito is present locally, but does not play a major role in our mosquito biology. Surveillance efforts this year will make sure that the situation remains the same. The county plan for response to West Nile, approved by the Board of Supervisors last spring, describes surveillance, public education, media interaction, and control measures that the county will use to monitor and respond to the threat posed by West Nile Virus.

Residents will play an important role in a number of aspects of West Nile surveillance here in Humboldt County. “Two very essential steps are residents controlling mosquito breeding sources and watching for dead crows, ravens, owls, or hawks that may have been affected by West Nile. These birds act as sentinels, showing the presence of the virus about six weeks before human cases appear. “ said Whitener. He encouraged residents to call the state dead bird hotline in Richmond at 1-877-WNV-BIRD after April 1st if a dead crow, raven, or raptor is found. The state will direct the local health department to pick up the bird for shipment and testing.

Records show that the Culex mosquito season locally is from late June until mid-September. This mosquito does not flourish in our natural settings, but does extremely well in buckets, old wading pools, or other sources of standing water where there is no pressure from predators. Local campaigns like ‘Fight the Bite” and “Kick the Bucket” will continue to use media and educational outreach to inform our citizens of the best ways to protect themselves from mosquitoes and reduce any disease risk.



News Release-West Nile Surveillance
March 22, 2004
Page 2


“We have learned as the virus spread across the U. S. that the mosquito that can make you sick may well come from your own back yard and not from the edge of Humboldt Bay or the Samoa dunes. Residents must realize that an untended white bucket of water can produce some 200 mosquitoes every several weeks. Simply emptying the bucket is a practical, common sense solution.” said Whitener.

The Division of Environmental Health can provide information to individuals or groups about West Nile’s effect on humans and horses, and the best prevention strategies to use this summer. Call the division at (707)
445-6215 or1-800-963-9241 if you have questions, would like a group presentation, or wish to report mosquito activity. A dedicated web site at www.westnile.ca.gov , maintained by the California Department of Health Services, is an excellent resource to find additional information about the current status of West Nile Virus in California.



































State, County to resume West Nile Surveillance April 1st

As springtime mosquitoes begin to emerge throughout the state, public health and mosquito control agencies are gearing up to resume the search for West Nile Virus here in California. The virus, passed by mosquitoes to birds, horses, and humans first entered southern California late last fall. Humboldt County has prepared for the
northward movement and possible arrival of West Nile with a plan of action and a watchful eye.

“ We have no history of mosquito borne disease here in Humboldt”, said Brent Whitener, the Vector Control Officer at the Division of Environmental Health. “ Our local mosquitoes can certainly be a nuisance. They can bite and ruin your picnic, but will not make you sick.” Other jurisdictions in California require active mosquito control programs to control disease risk and nuisance for residents, according to Whitener.

He advises that one mosquito, called Culex, is a very important part of the West Nile equation. Mosquito surveillance conducted in Humboldt County last year found that this mosquito is present locally, but does not play a major role in our mosquito biology. Surveillance efforts this year will make sure that the situation remains the same. The county plan for response to West Nile, approved by the Board of Supervisors last spring, describes surveillance, public education, media interaction, and control measures that the county will use to monitor and respond to the threat posed by West Nile Virus.

Residents will play an important role in a number of aspects of West Nile surveillance here in Humboldt County. “Two very essential steps are residents controlling mosquito breeding sources and watching for dead crows, ravens, owls, or hawks that may have been affected by West Nile. These birds act as sentinels, showing the presence of the virus about six weeks before human cases appear. “ said Whitener. He encouraged residents to call the state dead bird hotline in Richmond at 1-877-WNV-BIRD after April 1st if a dead crow, raven, or raptor is found. The state will direct the local health department to pick up the bird for shipment and testing.

Records show that the Culex mosquito season locally is from late June until mid-September. This mosquito does not flourish in our natural settings, but does extremely well in buckets, old wading pools, or other sources of standing water where there is no pressure from predators. Local campaigns like ‘Fight the Bite” and “Kick the Bucket” will continue to use media and educational outreach to inform our citizens of the best ways to protect themselves from mosquitoes and reduce any disease risk.



News Release-West Nile Surveillance
March 22, 2004
Page 2


“We have learned as the virus spread across the U. S. that the mosquito that can make you sick may well come from your own back yard and not from the edge of Humboldt Bay or the Samoa dunes. Residents must realize that an untended white bucket of water can produce some 200 mosquitoes every several weeks. Simply emptying the bucket is a practical, common sense solution.” said Whitener.

The Division of Environmental Health can provide information to individuals or groups about West Nile’s effect on humans and horses, and the best prevention strategies to use this summer. Call the division at (707)
445-6215 or1-800-963-9241 if you have questions, would like a group presentation, or wish to report mosquito activity. A dedicated web site at www.westnile.ca.gov , maintained by the California Department of Health Services, is an excellent resource to find additional information about the current status of West Nile Virus in California.




































 

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