West Nile virus mosquitoes present in Tulare County


Sheyanne N Romero
Visalia Times-Delta

Posted on Aug 27, 2020 at 11:06 am EDT

West Nile virus mosquitoes have been found in multiple locations in Tulare County, Health and Human Services Agency officials said this week.

In addition, samples indicate that the St. Louis Encephalitis Virus (SLEV) may also be present, which poses a public health risk.

“Because of this increased activity, we strongly encourage residents to take protective measures to reduce the risk of them contracting West Nile virus and SLEV from mosquito bites,” said Dr. Karen Haught, health officer.

The virus is transmitted to humans by mosquitos and there is no vaccine or medication to treat the virus, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Although most people infected with West Nile have no symptoms, about one in five will develop a fever with other symptoms.

Most people infected with SLEV have few to no symptoms. The most common symptoms are mild, flu-like symptoms, including fever and headache, five to 15 days after infection.

In severe cases, patients can have central nervous system effects leading to meningitis and / or encephalitis, which can result in death or long-term disability, according to health officials.

The local health authorities have asked residents to look out for possible breeding grounds around their properties. Residents should also look out for unoccupied or isolated houses, as many have swimming pools or backyard ponds.

Here are some tips to avoid bites:

  • Use an effective mosquito repellent like DEET. Always follow the directions on the label carefully.
  • In the morning and evening light, or in areas where mosquitoes are active, wear long sleeves and trousers.
  • Drain off any standing water that mosquitoes can produce.
  • Repair or replace door and window grilles with cracks or holes.

Horses are also susceptible to West Nile virus, but there is a vaccine available for horses to prevent these diseases. Horse owners should have their animals vaccinated annually and keep the vaccinations up to date as a preventive measure.

For more information, see the California West Nile website at http://westnile.ca.gov/.

Sheyanne Romero reports on public safety, local government and business in Tulare County for Visalia Times-Delta and Tulare Advance-Register. Follow her on Twitter @sheyanne_VTD. Receive alerts and keep up to date on all things Tulare County for just $ 1 a month. Subscribe today.

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