Mosquito bites are never fun, but this summer they could also make you sick with virus. That's why officials hope you'll heed their warning to defend against mosquitoes.
West Nile virus has been present in for several years, carried cross-country by birds that then infected mosquitoes.
Most people who are infected with virus will not experience major illness, but some, particularly adults over 50 or those with diabetes or other chronic health problems, may become very ill, or even die. In 2005 there were 35 human cases and 23 horses, 2 Alpachas, and 84 birds that tested positive with virus. In 2006, at least 8 humans and 1 horse in were diagnosed with virus.
Infected mosquitoes transmit WNV to humans and animals while biting. WNV is not transmitted person-to-person, nor between people and animals.
Here are some simple tips for WNV prevention: Don't get bitten by mosquitoes!
- DEFEND against mosquitoes by eliminating all sources of standing water on your property that can support mosquito breeding. These include small containers such as flower pot dishes and bird baths as well as larger sources such as yard drains, landscape water treatments, ponds, stock watering troughs, and unmaintained spas & swimming pools.
- Apply insect repellent when outdoors. Use repellents that contain DEET, Picaridin, or oil of lemon eucalyptus, following label instructions.
- Stay indoors when mosquitoes are most active: DAWN and DUSK. If you must go outdoors, first apply repellent to exposed skin. Wear light-colored, long, loose-fitting clothing.
- Exclude mosquitoes from your home with screens on doors and windows.
- Contact your veterinarian for information on vaccinating your horses, mules, donkeys, and burros against WNV.
- Report significant mosquito infestations to the Placer Mosquito & Vector Control District (916) 435-2140 or www.placermosquito.org.
- Dead bird reports are very important because they are a significant indicator of virus activity in an area. If you find a dead bird, do not handle the dead bird with your bare hands. Use gloves or an inverted plastic bag to place the bird in the bag. Report dead birds to 1-877-WNV-BIRD (1-877-968-2473) or www.westnile.ca.gov. If you are not contacted within 24 hours, you should safely dispose of the dead bird in your trash.