The Owens Valley Mosquito Abatement Program (OVMAP) confirmed today that mosquito samples trapped last week again tested positive for West Nile virus (WNV). These samples were collected near Bishop, but in a different location than previous positive samples. Following swift and decisive action from OVMAP, mosquito populations in the area where positive samples were previously collected were too small to find the minimum sample size of 25 mosquitos required for testing.
New WNV positive samples being found in a different location from previous samples highlights the importance of protecting yourself from mosquito bites. With WNV positive mosquito samples being collected in 17 counties in California so far this year, totaling 230 WNV positive mosquito pool samples throughout California, no one should assume that mosquitos in their area are not carrying any disease just because testing has not discovered disease presence in your area. All residents should exercise caution when outdoors. Rob Miller, interim manager of OVMAP suggests the following protective measures:
Use mosquito repellent. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends using insect repellents containing DEET, Picaridin, or IR3535. Some oil of Lemon eucalyptus and Para-Menthane-Diol products provide similar protection.
Avoid outdoor activities if possible during dawn and dusk. This is especially important during the first two hours following sunset, when species that spread West Nile Virus are actively biting.
Wear long sleeves and pants. This provides additional protection when used in conjunction with insect repellent
About 20% of those who are bit by an infected mosquito will experience flu-like symptoms that last a few days and resolve on their own. Over-the-counter pain medications can help reduce fever and relieve some of the symptoms. About 1 out of every 150 people who contract West Nile Virus will develop more serious neurologic illness. If you develop symptoms of severe WNV illness, such as unusually severe headaches or confusion, seek medical attention immediately. Pregnant women and nursing mothers are encouraged to seek medical attention if they develop symptoms commonly associated with WNV.
To find more information on West Nile Virus, visit the Centers for Disease Control WNV page at https://www.cdc.gov/westnile/index.html.
Please report mosquito problems to the Owens Valley Mosquito Abatement Program by calling: (760) 873-7853.