Imperial County Public Health reports people are still at risk for West Nile Virus this year

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  West Nile Virus

 

IMPERIAL COUNTY – The Imperial County Public Health Department announced today that it is encouraging Imperial County residents to continue taking precautions to prevent West Nile virus (WNV).

Imperial County residents are advised to continue wearing mosquito repellent when spending time outdoors especially during the early morning hours and at dusk when mosquitoes are most active.

One human case of WNV was reported this month.  The individual did not report having symptoms and was found through routine surveillance.

   “Recent rains have left standing water in many parts of Imperial County and we can expect increased mosquito activity as a result.  It is important that residents continue to remain vigilant and continue taking personal precautions to protect themselves and their families from West Nile Virus,” stated Jeff Lamoure, Deputy Director of Environmental Health Services.  Imperial County is expecting additional storms this weekend.

“Although West Nile is not new to the area, everyone needs to continue taking the necessary precautions to avoid mosquito bites such as wearing mosquito repellent and eliminating mosquito breeding sources around their homes,” said Stephen Munday, M.D., Health Officer.

In 2012, one case of WNV was reported in Imperial County.  Since WNV was first detected in Imperial County in 2003, a total of nine human cases have been reported.  Most individuals who are infected with WNV will not experience any illness.  Others will have only mild symptoms, such as fever, headache and body aches.  However, WNV can be severe in the elderly and individuals with lowered immune systems.

WNV is transmitted to humans and animals through a mosquito bite.  Mosquitoes become infected when they feed on infected birds.  West Nile virus is not transmitted person-to-person or animal-to-person through casual contact.  A very small proportion of cases have been documented in the past from blood transfusions and organ transplants.

In Imperial County, the Public Health Department’s Vector Control Program is responsible for local mosquito control efforts.

Vector Control technicians conduct a combination of surveillance, mosquito trapping, adulticiding to control mosquitoes and larviciding to prevent mosquito development.

Efforts are concentrated in areas throughout the County known to have significant mosquito activity.  Pools that are not well maintained (green pools) can breed a large number of mosquitoes that can affect extended areas in local neighborhoods.  Individuals are encouraged to report green pools to Environmental Health. During the summer months, Public Health Department staff intensify their efforts to inform the community about personal protection against WNV by conducting door-to-door and community-based outreach.

Individuals can reduce their risk of mosquito-borne diseases by taking the following precautions:

  • ·         Limit time outdoors during dawn and early evening.
  • ·         When outdoors, wear loose fitting, light colored, long-sleeve shirts and pants when mosquitoes are most active (during dusk and dawn).

 

  • ·         Apply insect repellent that contains DEET, Picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus or IR3535 according to label instructions.

 

  • ·         Make sure that doors and windows have tight fitting screens.  Repair or replace screens that have tears or holes.

 

  • ·         Eliminate all sources of standing water on your property that can support mosquito breeding.

 

  • ·         Contact Vector Control if there is a significant mosquito problem where you live or work.

For general information about WNV in Imperial County please contact the Imperial County Public Health Department at (760) 482-4WNV or to report a problem with mosquitoes or to report a green pool please contact Environmental Health at (760) 336-8530.  For information about WNV, visit the Web site:  http://www.westnile.ca.gov/.