BUTTE COUNTY, Calif. – The West Nile Virus has been identified and is now active in Butte County. Two of the District’s sentinel chickens have tested positive with West Nile virus (WNV), the Butte County Mosquito and Vector Control District announced Thursday.
One chicken is from the Palermo area and the other chicken is five miles west of Chico. With increasing mosquito populations and the detection of WNV within Butte County, the District said it’s urging residents to take all precautions necessary to drain any and all un-needed standing water, report any suspected mosquito-breeding sites to the District, and protect themselves from mosquito bites.
The District said this is the first positive indicator of WNV in the county for 2020. WNV is active throughout the state of California and activity is rising, according to the District.
“It’s imperative that county residents be aware that WNV is active and to avoid mosquito bites by whatever means necessary. Residents are urged to do their part to prevent mosquitoes from breeding by inspecting and eliminating all standing water from their properties.” WNV has been identified in Butte County every year since its arrival in 2004. Since 2004, 249 residents have been infected with the virus, 9 of which have lost their lives.
“The significance of the District’s detection in the sentinel chicken populations is that not only does Butte County have mosquitoes carrying WNV, but transmission is occurring” Ball stated.
The virus is usually prevalent from May through October when mosquitoes are most abundant. Mosquitoes contract the virus when they feed on infected birds, then spread the virus when the mosquitoes seek other hosts to bite.
In addition to birds and humans, horses are also affected by WNV. Due to the high mortality rate of horses that contract the disease, owners are encouraged to make sure their horses are kept current with their WNV vaccinations.
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.ButteMosquito.com.