Mosquitoes caught in Santa Barbara take a look at optimistic for West Nile Virus | Native information

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Source: Brian Cabrera for Mosquito & Vector Management District in Santa Barbara County

October 28, 2020
| 9:00 a.m.

A sample of mosquitoes taken from a Santa Barbara mosquito trap tested positive for West Nile Virus (WNV), according to the Santa Barbara County’s Mosquito & Vector Management District.

The mosquitoes were caught as part of ongoing surveillance of the recently discovered invasive Aedes aegypti mosquito, which was discovered earlier this month.

“It’s not the first time West Nile virus has been found in Santa Barbara County, but it has been three years since it was last discovered,” said Brian Cabrera, district general manager.

People can get WNV from the bite of an infected mosquito. However, most of the people who acquire the virus do not know they are infected and do not develop symptoms.

Around one in five infected people develops symptoms such as fever, headache, muscle pain and nausea. In about 1% of people who receive WNV, infection can lead to serious complications such as encephalitis or meningitis, coma, and even death.

Residents are urged to take action to control the bite, which includes the three Ds:

Deet – Use deet or other Environmental Protection Agency-approved repellants.
Dawn and dusk – avoid being outside during these times when the mosquitoes are most active.
Drain – Empty any standing water sources mosquitoes lay their eggs in, including buckets, bird baths, clogged gutters, old tires, all kinds of containers, and unused hot tubs.

Wearing long sleeved shirts and long pants can also provide protection from mosquitos. Larger springs where mosquitoes breed, such as B. neglected swimming pools or stagnant water in creek beds and washes can be reported to District 805-969-5050.

Wild birds are the main source of WNV in mosquitoes. Crows, ravens, jays, and magpies are particularly susceptible to the virus and often get sick and die after being infected. Residents are asked to report dead birds to the California Department of Health’s Dead Bird Hotline.

If the dead birds are still in good condition, the district will collect them and have them tested for WNV. Reports can be submitted online at http://westnile.ca.gov/report.php or by calling 1-877-968-2473. Horses are also susceptible to the virus, but luckily a vaccine is available.

The California Department of Health has a website on the West Nile Virus, as well as an Insect Repellent Toolkit website, which provides information on how to protect yourself from mosquito bites. Visit the websites at: http://westnile.ca.gov/ and https://www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CID/DCDC/Pages/Dont-Give-Bugs-a-Biting-Chance.aspx .

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