West Nile Virus Detected in Turlock

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The Turlock and East Side Mosquito Abatement Districts have announced the detection of West Nile Virus in multiple dead birds and mosquitoes in Stanislaus County.

Turlock Mosquito Abatement District has found two pools of mosquitoes (Turlock and Hughson) and one dead bird (Turlock) that tested positive for WNV. The East Side Mosquito Abatement District has also had one pool of mosquitoes (Valley Home) and four dead birds (Modesto) test positive.

These findings are the first detection of WNV in Stanislaus County this year. The virus has been found much earlier than usual, and it larger amounts.

As of June 13, 18 California counties have detected WNV. A total of 169 dead birds, 85 mosquito samples, and one sentinel chicken flock have been reported with WNV in those counties.

“This early detection of so much West Nile virus activity, not only in Stanislaus County, but the State in general, has us concerned”, said David Heft, General Manager of the Turlock Mosquito Abatement District.

“Scientists have shown that warm spring temperatures have a high correlation with high West Nile activity later in the summer months, and I believe we may be seeing just that. Our hope is to raise public awareness regarding this heightened disease potential so that individuals may take necessary precautions to protect themselves and their families,” warned Heft.

As the Fourth of July approaches, the Turlock and East Side Mosquito Abatement Districts want citizens to make efforts to prevent the spread of WNV. Citizens can use the following simple steps to help protect themselves and other from mosquito bites and WNV:

  • Eliminate sources of standing water. During warm weather, mosquitoes can breed within four days. Make sure to change water in pet dishes and bird baths regularly, and drill holes in tire swings so water can drain.
  • Avoid spending time outside during dusk and dawn, especially for the first two hours after sunset, when mosquitoes are most active.
  • When outdoors, wear long pants, long-sleeved shirts, and other protective clothing.
  • Keep mosquitoes out of your home with tight-fitting screens on doors and windows.
  • Apply insect repellent with the active ingredient DEET when outdoors.
  • In addition to DEET-based products, the CDC also recommends repellents containing oil of lemon eucalyptus and Picaridin.

According to officials, reporting and testing of dead birds is important to preventing WNV. Confirmed cases of WNV in birds or mosquitoes help to identify areas that need to be treated for mosquitoes and WNV.

To report a dead bird, call the California state hotline at 1-877-WNV-BIRD or report it online at www.westnile.ca.gov

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