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West Nile Virus activity begins in Solano County
May 19, 2014
SOLANO COUNTY – The local mosquito control and public health agencies confirmed today the first sign of West Nile virus activity in Solano County.
Solano County Mosquito Abatement District (SCMAD) and Solano County Department of Health and Social Services (SCDHSS) officials confirmed on Tuesday that one crow found in the City of Fairfield tested positive for West Nile virus (WNV).
This is the first evidence that we have of local WNV activity in Solano County this year,” said Dr. Michael Stacey, MD, MPH, Chief Medical Officer and Deputy Health Officer for the County. “We have not had any reported cases of WNV infection in humans so far this year.”
As of May 9, 2014, the California Department of Public Health reports that West Nile virus activity has been detected in six other counties; so far, no human cases have been reported in California to date.
In 2013, there were a total of 379 human cases of WNV reported in California with 15 reported deaths. There was one reported human case of WNV infection in Solano County in 2013.
West Nile virus is transmitted to human and animals through the bite of an infected mosquito. Mosquitoes become infected when they feed on infected birds.
“This serves as a reminder to the community that we need to follow these simple precautions to ensure that we protect ourselves against mosquito bites and reduce our risk of infection”, added Dr. Stacey.
To avoid being bitten by mosquitoes, county officials recommend the following:
· Dawn and dusk: Mosquitoes are most active in the early morning and evening. Residents should avoid being outside at these times. If you are outdoors, wear long-sleeved shirt and long pants and use insect repellent.
· Drain: Mosquitoes lay their eggs on standing water. Residents should eliminate all sources of standing water on their property and drain empty flower pots, buckets, barrels, old car tires, rain gutters and pet bowls. If you have an ornamental pond, contact the Solano County Mosquito Abatement District (707-437-1116) for a free mosquito fish.
· DEET: Insect repellents keep mosquitoes from biting. Apply an EPA-registered insect repellent containing DEET, picaradin, oil of lemon eucalyptus or IR3535 according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
· Doors and windows: Residents should ensure that their doors and windows have tight-fitting screens to keep mosquitoes out. Repair or replace screens with tears or holes.
“Only 1 in 5 people infected with the virus develop mild symptoms, which can include headache, fatigue, fever, skin rash on the trunk of the body, swollen lymph glands and eye pain. Typically, symptoms start 3 to 14 days after the person is bitten by an infected mosquito.
Less than one percent (about 1 in 150) of persons with WNV infection will develop severe neurological disease, which can include neck stiffness, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness, and paralysis.
“In very rare occasions, WNV can be fatal,” explained Dr. Stacey.
Anyone can be infected with WNV, but people who are 50 years old and over, and those with diabetes or hypertension, are at higher risk of developing severe illness and complications.
“We utilize all the tools that we have in order to control the mosquito populations throughout the County; however, I would like to emphasize the availability of effective mosquito repellents and encourage residents to use them on a regular basis,” said Jon Blegen, Solano County Abatement District Manager.
Residents can help with prevention and control efforts by making sure that they don’t have any standing water on their property and to report any unmaintained swimming pool by calling 707-437-1116.
“Solano County residents can assist us by reporting dead birds and squirrels”, added Dr. Stacey.
Residents can report dead birds and squirrels online at www.westnile.ca.gov or by calling 1-877-WNV-BIRD (1-877-968-2473).