| Visalia Times-Delta
Mosquitoes are the absolute worst. Here’s how to stop them.
The summer pest can spread diseases such as the West Nile virus, encephalitis, and Zika. Fortunately, we can keep their numbers down by working together.
Two people from Tulare County have confirmed cases of West Nile Virus and three other residents in the county are suspected of developing the mosquito-borne disease, the Tulare County Health and Welfare Department reported Thursday.
Dr. Karen Haught, Tulare County Health Officer, urges residents to take precautions against mosquito bites as mosquito samples positive for West Nile virus have been found in several locations in Tulare County.
In addition, samples suggest the St. Louis Encephalitis Virus (SLEV) could also be present, which poses a risk to the public, Haught said.
West Nile virus is transmitted to humans by mosquitoes, and there is no vaccine or medicine to treat the virus, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Most people infected with West Nile have no symptoms. However, about 1 in 5 people develop a fever with other symptoms two to 14 days after infection, the CDC reports.
Severe cases of West Nile virus can affect the central nervous system, which can lead to meningitis and / or encephalitis, and can result in death or long-term disability, according to the CDC.
The St. Louis Encephalitis Virus (SLEV) belongs to the same virus family as the West Nile Virus. Both viruses are transmitted to humans when they are bitten by an infected mosquito, reports the CDC.
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, reports the CDC.
Severe cases of SLEV can also affect the central nervous system, leading to meningitis and / or encephalitis and can lead to death or long-term disability, reports the CDC.
Be on the lookout for unoccupied or gated homes, as many have swimming pools or backyard ponds that mosquitoes breed in, Tulare County’s health officials advise.
Contact your local mosquito control district if you see areas of stagnant water that may be breeding areas for mosquitoes. There are three mosquito control counties in Tulare County that offer control to residents:
- Delta Vector Control (Mosquito Abatement District) – Covers the northern part of Tulare County. Contact the Visalia office at (559) 732-8606 or visit them online at http://www.deltavcd.com/.
- Tulare Mosquito Abatement District – Coverage of the western part of Tulare County. Contact the Tulare office at (559) 686-6628 or visit them online at https://www.tularemosquito.com/.
- Delano Mosquito Abatement District – Covers the southern part of Tulare County. Contact the Delano office at (661) 725-3114 or visit them online at https://delanomosquito.com/.
Animals and West Nile
Horses are also particularly susceptible to West Nile virus infections. However, there is a horse vaccine to prevent these diseases. Horse owners should have their horses vaccinated annually and keep vaccinations up to date as a preventive measure.
Protection against mosquito bites
To avoid being bitten by mosquitos and reduce your risk of exposure to West Nile Virus and SLEV, Tulare County Health Authorities recommend:
- Use EPA registered insect repellants 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.
James Ward covers entertainment, news, Sport and Lifestyle for the Visalia Times-Delta / Tulare Advance Register. Follow him further Twitter. Receive alerts and keep up to date on all things Tulare County for just $ 1 a month. Subscribe today.