Two samples of mosquitoes collected from within the City of Clovis tested positive this week for West Nile virus and officials are advising residents to take precautions to protect themselves from mosquito bites.
In all, 19 samples of mosquitoes collected within Fresno County — including two samples in Clovis — have tested positive for West Nile virus, announced Steve Mulligan, district manager of the Consolidated Mosquito Abatement District.
While this is the first indication of West Nile activity within Clovis this year, West Nile-positive mosquitoes have been found within the city each year since 2005, said Jodi Holeman, the district’s scientific-technical services director.
There have been no human cases of West Nile virus reported in California so far, officials said.
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Last year there were 783 confirmed human West Nile infections in the state, with 53 related deaths. In Fresno County, eight people were infected last year; none of them died, according to a news release.
Information on West Nile activity in the California is available at www.westnile.ca.gov.
West Nile virus is can be transmitted to humans and other animals through the bite of an infected mosquito. Most people infected will not experience any illness. About 20 percent of West Nile-infected people will have mild to moderate flu-like symptoms such as fever, headache and body aches, while less than 1 percent will develop serious neurologic illnesses, officials said.
Older folks and those with compromised immune systems, diabetes or hypertension are more susceptible to serious illness, officials said.
While there is no vaccine to protect people against WN, vaccines are available for horses. Horse owners are advised to contact their veterinarian for guidance.
To reduce the threat from mosquitoes and West Nile virus, the district urges community members to eliminate mosquito breeding areas from their homes, businesses and farms.
Residents can help eliminate mosquitoes by dumping and draining containers that hold water, and by reporting unmaintained or “green” swimming pools, which are a major source of mosquitoes in residential areas.
Farmers should not allow irrigation water to stand in fields for more than three days to prevent mosquito production, officials said.
The district will continue to spray ultra-low volume (ULV), aerosol insecticide fog at night in residential areas to control adult mosquitoes throughout the mosquito season, officials said.
For more information about the district, for an updated map of West Nile virus activity and for locations of ULV fog applications visit the District website at www.mosquitobuzz.net .
Residents may call the Consolidated Mosquito Abatement District at (559) 896-1085 if they have a mosquito problem, to report an unmaintained swimming pool or water feature or if they need assistance in eliminating mosquito sources from around their premises.
Abatement workers will provide mosquitofish for swimming pools, backyard ponds or horse troughs. District services are free of charge.
“Since West Nile is once again present in our area, it is important that people take precautions to protect themselves from mosquito bites,” said Steve Mulligan, district manager of the Consolidated Mosquito Abatement District.
Follow these tips:
▪ Make sure that doors and windows have tight-fitting screens to keep out mosquitoes.
▪ Avoid spending time outside when mosquitoes are most active, especially the first two hours after sunset. The types of mosquitoes that can carry the virus are most active throughout the evening and night, from dusk until dawn.
▪ Anyone outside during peak mosquito activity 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. Always read and follow labeled instructions carefully.