CONCORD, CALIFORNIA - A group of mosquitoes that tested positive for West Nile virus has signaled the first sign of virus activity in Contra Costa County this year.
The infected mosquitoes were caught in traps in an agricultural area near Byron. District employees will increase surveillance and trapping efforts in the area.
The District urges county residents to take precautions to prevent mosquitoes by dumping and draining any standing water on their property, to report neighborhood mosquito issues including neglected swimming pools to their local mosquito and vector control District, and to prevent bites by using repellents during peak mosquito activity - dawn and dusk.
According to the District's Scientific Programs Manager Steve Schutz, Ph.D., "August and September are the peak months for human cases of West Nile virus."
Schutz also asks residents to report dead birds. "Dead birds, especially crows and jays, are often a good early indication that West Nile virus is present in a particular area. Birds can be carriers of West Nile virus."
The District asks residents who find a dead bird to report it to the statewide West Nile Virus Hotline online or by calling (877) WNV-BIRD (968-2473).
Residents can reduce their risk of contracting West Nile virus and other mosquito-borne diseases by:
- Dumping or draining standing water. All mosquitoes develop from egg to adult in water.
- Defending yourself - use repellents containing DEET, Picaridin, or Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus.
- Keeping swimming pools chlorinated and filtered. Just one neglected pool can produce up to 1 million mosquitoes and affect people several miles away.
- Avoiding the outdoors when mosquitoes are present, typically dawn and dusk.
Since 2005, 66 people in Contra Costa County have been diagnosed with West Nile virus. In 2006, two people died from the disease. For current human case information, please contact Contra Costa Health Services at 888-959-9911.
Contra Costa Mosquito & Vector Control District, an independent special district and public health agency, is located at 155 Mason Circle in Concord. Contact the District to report mosquito problems online or at (925) 685-9301.