The Turlock area is a hotspot in California for West Nile Virus and officials are urging residents to take extra precautions to avoid mosquito bites.
The Turlock Mosquito and Eastside Mosquito Abatement Districts detected WNV back on May 26 within their jurisdictions and the Districts have continued to detect elevated WNV‐infected mosquito samples since with the intensity increasing over the past month. Most of the WNV‐positive mosquitoes are being collected in rural Stanislaus County and around the cities of Modesto, Turlock and Denair.
As of July 31, WNV has been detected in 21 California counties and confirmed in 64 dead birds, 474 mosquito samples and five human cases. Stanislaus County has so far had four dead birds, 139 mosquito samples, one horse and three WNV‐human cases this season and is a WNV hotspot in the state. Three more cases of human WNV cases were reported late last week and are under investigation at this time.
“Although mosquito populations remain light to moderate in most areas, the concern is the elevated WNV‐infected mosquito samples over the past month. The earlier than normal detection of WNV in mosquitoes and high overnight temperatures in our county is the perfect storm for potential human infection,” said both District Managers David Heft and Wakoli Wekesa in statement. “We caution residents to consider any mosquito bite as a potential source of WNV‐infection and urge residents to take extra precautions at this time of year to avoid mosquito bites.”
The Districts will continue with their surveillance programs identifying mosquito breeding sources and mosquito borne disease activity. Based on the results of surveillance data aerial and ground applications will be utilized as needed to reduce the risk of West Nile Virus infection and other mosquito borne diseases. The Districts anticipate more WNV and mosquitoes in the coming months.
“As we move many of our activities outside to prevent the spread of COVID‐19, we need to remember to protect ourselves from West Nile virus,” said Dr. Julie Vaishampayan, Stanislaus County Health Officer. “West Nile virus also causes serious disease, especially in those who are older and have underlying medical conditions very similar to COVID‐19 and we need to take precautions.”
Those precautions include:
· Dump or drain standing water. These are places mosquitoes like to lay their eggs.
· Protect yourself against mosquitoes by using repellants containing DEET, Picaridin or Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus.
· Avoid being outdoors at dusk and dawn. These are the times when WNV carrying mosquitoes are generally most active.
· Report Neglected Swimming pools to your local mosquito abatement district.
· Use tight fitting door and window screens to keep mosquitoes from entering your home.
· Contact your veterinarian for information on vaccinating equine against WNV.
For additional information or to request service, residents should contact their local District Stanislaus County residents:
— North of the Tuolumne River contact: Eastside Mosquito Abatement District at (209) 522‐4098 (www.eastsidemosquito.com)
— South of the Tuolumne River contact: Turlock Mosquito Abatement District at (209) 634‐1234 (www.turlockmosquito.org)