Pack on the insect repellent.
It’s peak mosquito season, and two samples of common house mosquitos have tested positive in Clovis for Saint Louis encephalitis virus.
SLE, which is a disease nearly identical to West Nile virus in both symptoms and the way it is transmitted, was found in mosquito samples collected near Sierra and Villa avenues on June 27 and July 13, said Jodi Holeman, the scientific-technical services director at the Consolidated Mosquito Abatement District.
The mosquito abatement district is sending additional technicians to the area to look for and remove breeding areas for the mosquitoes and to apply adulticide to reduce the adult mosquito population and risk of virus transmission, Holeman said.
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Officials have begun using the NextDoor app and social media platform to notify residents of chemical applications; such information can also be found on the agency’s website, mosquitobuzz.net
Saint Louis encephalitis virus is a disease that can be transmitted to humans and other animals through the bite of an infected mosquito.
“SLE is a different virus, but in terms of symptoms, it is very similar to West Nile Virus,” Holeman said. “You may have headache, fever, dizziness, nausea, tiredness ... symptoms can take 5 to 15 days to appear once you’re bitten. And less than 1 percent of those who are infected will show symptoms.”
Severe neuroinvasive disease, often involving encephalitis, can occur, more commonly in older adults; and, in rare cases, long-term disability or death can result from the disease.
“In Fresno County, we had a human case of SLE and a sample that test positive in 2016,” Holeman said. “This year we’re having more activity with more mosquitoes, and two samples that have tested positive in the City of Clovis and one sample that tested positive in Kings County.”
West Nile virus has also been reported from two mosquito samples in Fresno County this year.
The best things residents can do is “be diligent in applying insect repellent,” Holeman said. “Right now is when we see an increase in mosquito-borne virus transmission; it’s peak transmission season through the end of September.”
The types of mosquitoes that can carry these viruses are most active throughout the evening and night, from dusk until dawn. People should avoid spending time outside when mosquitoes are active, especially the first two hours after sunset. Anyone outside during these times should wear loose fitting, long sleeve shirts and long pants and apply insect repellent to exposed skin.
Effective repellents are those containing the active ingredients DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, or IR 3535, as recommended by the U. S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Residents can also help themselves and their neighbors by thoroughly checking their own properties for anything that is holding water, from buckets and flower pots to drains, and eliminating the water source so that mosquitoes can’t breed in them.
“If they can’t, they can call us and we’ll send a technician out there to remove those sources,” Holeman said.