West Nile Virus Activity Increases in Butte County

Jul 22, 2013 1:22 PM

The Butte County Mosquito and Vector Control District confirmed a “pool” of mosquitos tested positive for West Nile Virus last week. The WNV positive pool came from the Nelson area.

Mosquito “pools” are live, caught mosquitos which have been sorted and grouped into allotments no bigger than 50 specimens. The pools are identified to each species and tested for the presence of the vector-borne disease. The District received confirmation on the infected pool July 18.

WNV was also detected last week in a bird found in the Durham area. With the increase in mosquito populations and the detection of the disease, the District is urging residents of the county to take all precautions necessary to drain and any and all unneeded standing water, report any possible breeding sites, and protect themselves from bites.

“It’s imperative that county residents be aware that WNV is active and to avoid mosquito bites by whatever means necessary,” said Matthew Ball, District Manager for the Butte County Mosquito and Vector Control District. “Residents are urged to do their part to prevent mosquitoes from breeding by inspecting and eliminating all standing water from their properties.”

According to the District’s press release, WNV has been identified in the county every year since 2004. Since then, 104 residents have been infected with the virus, 7 of those have resulted in deaths.

The District indicated the virus is usually prevalent from May through October. Mosquitos contact the disease when they feed on infected birds, then spread the virus when they seek other hosts to bite.

In addition to birds and humans, horses are also affected by WNV.

“When the virus first came to the state, we saw a big problem with horses and their mortality rate was high,” said Doug Weseman, Public Information Officer for the District. “Luckily, there is a vaccine now, but some owners have been unwilling to pay to keep their horses up to date with the vaccination because of the cost. But doing so is something we greatly encourage.”

Weseman also told Action News Now the elderly and children are most susceptible to the disease, but it has proven to be very pontent in individuals from varying demographics. Initial symptoms of the disease are general flu-like symptoms. Weseman also stated the general rise in WNV activity is a concern, but not abnormally high in regards to recent annual trends.

The District has provided these prevention tips for the public:

-Avoid spending time outside when mosquitoes are active, especially at dusk and dawn

- If you must be outdoors when mosquitoes are active, apply insect repellent containing DEET, Picaridin, IR3535 or oil of lemon eucalyptus according to label instructions or wear long pants, and long-sleeved shirts, socks and shoes

- Make sure that doors and windows have tight fitting screens. Repair or replace screens that have tears or holes

- Eliminate all standing water on your property that can support mosquito-breeding

- Report standing water to Butte County Mosquito and Vector Control District

- Contact Butte County Mosquito and Vector Control District if there is a significant mosquito problem where you live, work, and/or play

The public is also encouraged to report any suspected mosquito-breeding sites and/or any mosquito activity. Reports can be made by phone at 530-533-6038 or 530-342-7350 or website at www.BCMVCD.com.


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