Thursday, July 18, 2013

Amador County Public Health: West Nile Virus Prevention

Sutter Creek, CA – California Public Health officials are reminding people to take steps to
prevent West Nile virus (WNV) infections. Outbreaks of West Nile virus occur each summer in
the United States and are most commonly transmitted to humans and animals through a
mosquito bite from a mosquito harboring the virus.
The California Department of Public Health recommends that individuals prevent exposure
to mosquito bites and West Nile virus by practicing the “Four Ds”:

1. DEET – Apply insect repellent containing DEET, picaradin, oil of lemon eucalyptus or
IR3535 according to label instructions. Repellents keep the mosquitoes from biting you.
DEET can be used safely on children and infants 2 months of age and older.

2. DRESS – Wear clothing that reduces the risk of skin exposure to mosquito bites: long
sleeved shirts and long pants.

3. DAWN AND DUSK – Mosquitoes bite in the early morning and evening so it is important
to wear repellent at this time. Make sure that your doors and windows have tight-fitting
screens to keep out mosquitoes. Repair or replace screens with tears or holes.

4. DRAIN – Mosquitoes lay their eggs on standing water. Eliminate all sources of standing
water on your property, including flower pots, old car tires, and rain gutters. Mosquito
Dunks are another prevention measure that are dropped in stagnant water, bird baths or
ponds and serve to form a barrier to prevent mosquitos from breeding.

Dead birds may also be reported to enhance the state’s ability to detect WNV. Amador
County residents may report dead birds by calling 1-877-WNV-BIRD (1-877-968-2473) or
via the online reporting system at “Finding birds positive for West Nile
virus is always significant because it provides an early warning sign for the disease in a
community,” says Dr. Bob Hartmann, Amador County Public Health Officer.

The risk of serious illness to most people is low. However, some individuals -- less than 1
percent -- will develop serious neurologic illness such as encephalitis or meningitis. People
50 years and older have a higher chance of getting sick and are more likely to develop
serious symptoms. Those with diabetes and/or hypertension are at greatest risk for serious

To date in 2013, West Nile virus has been detected in 29 California counties, with 1 death in
Sacramento County. No cases have been reported in Amador County this year. Amador
County has had human cases in the past, but WNV is more common in the central valley
and southern California.

For more information on WNV, please visit California’s West Nile virus website:

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