SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – Mosquitoes caught in Santa Barbara tested positive for the West Nile virus on Tuesday.
The Santa Barbara County’s Mosquito & Vector Management District caught and tested a mosquito sample from a mosquito trap after the invasive Aedes aegypti mosquitoes were discovered earlier this month.
The mosquito sample tested positive for the West Nile virus.
“It’s not the first time West Nile virus has been found in Santa Barbara County,” said Brian Cabrera, district general manager. “However, it’s been three years since it was last discovered.”
Officials say people can contract West Nile virus after being bitten by an infected mosquito.
Officials warn that most people who contract the virus do not know they are infected and will not develop symptoms.
Around one in five infected people has symptoms such as fever, headache, muscle pain and nausea.
About one percent of people who get the virus experience serious complications, including meningitis, coma, and even death.
The county urges residents to take action to combat “Fight the Bite”, including the “Three Ds”:
- 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 all sources of stagnant water that mosquitoes lay their eggs in, including buckets, bird baths, clogged gutters, old tires, containers of all kinds, unused hot tubs, etc.
Officials also warn of neglected swimming pools and / or stagnant water. If anyone sees such environments that are breeding grounds for mosquitoes, report it to the district at 805-969-5050.
They also say that wild birds are the main source of the virus for mosquitoes, including crows, ravens, jays, and magpies. These birds are susceptible to the virus and often die after infection.
To report dead birds in the area call 877-968-2473 or click here.
Horses are also susceptible to the virus, but luckily a vaccine is available.
Further information on the West Nile virus can be found here.