The Stanislaus County Department of Public Health received a report of a 52-year-old woman that was hospitalized with West Nile Virus (WNV), the first reported case in the county.
As of Aug. 7, there have been 18 reported human cases in California, but this is the first in Stanislaus County.
Stanislaus County residents are encouraged to continue their efforts to prevent mosquitoes and WNV. Citizens can help protect themselves and others from mosquito bites and WNV by using the following steps:
- Eliminate sources of standing water where mosquitoes lay their eggs.
- Avoid spending time outside when mosquitoes are most active, at dusk and dawn, 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.
- In addition to DEET-based products, the Centers for Disease Control also recommend insect repellents containing oil of lemon eucalyptus and Picaridin.
The Turlock and East Side mosquito abatement districts have been busy locating mosquito breeding sources and treating them as necessary.
One source can be neglected swimming pools, which can lead to West Nile Virus carrying mosquitoes. The mosquito abatement districts have conducted aerial surveillance photography for neglected swimming pools. They also provide free mosquito fish to put in ornamental ponds and other mosquito breeding 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 209-522-4098 or visit www.eastsidemosquito.com. All others should contact the Turlock Mosquito Abatement District at 209-634-1234 or visit 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.