West Nile virus (WNV) has been identified in Butte County.


West Nile virus (WNV) has been identified in Butte County. A sentinel chicken in a coop near the Sacramento River just across the bridge from Hamilton City has tested positive with the virus. With increasing mosquito populations and the detection of WNV within Butte County, the Butte County Mosquito and Vector Control District (District) urges residents to take all precautions necessary to drain any and all un-needed standing water, report any suspected mosquito-breeding sites to the District, and to protect themselves from the bites of mosquitoes.
This is the first positive indicator of WNV in the county for 2012.  WNV is active throughout the State of California. Statewide WNV activity is much higher this year than in 2011.  Matthew Ball, District Manager for the Butte County Mosquito and Vector Control District stated, “It’s imperative that county residents be aware that WNV is active and to avoid mosquito bites by whatever means necessary. Residents are urged to do their part to prevent mosquitoes from breeding by inspecting and eliminating all standing water from their properties.” WNV has been identified in Butte County every year since its arrival in 2004. Since 2004, 93 residents have been infected with the virus, 7 of which have lost their lives.
The virus is usually prevalent from May through October when mosquitoes are most abundant. Mosquitoes contract the virus when they feed on infected birds, then spread the virus when the mosquitoes seek other hosts to bite.
In addition to birds and humans, horses are also affected by WNV. Due to the high mortality rate of horses that contract the disease, owners are encouraged to make sure their horses are kept current with their WNV vaccinations.
Individuals can reduce their risk of mosquito-borne disease by following these prevention tips:
- Avoid spending time outside when mosquitoes are active, especially at dusk and dawn
- If you must be outdoors when mosquitoes are active, wear long pants, and long-sleeved shirts, socks and shoes
- Before going outdoors, apply insect repellent containing DEET, Picaridin, IR3535 or oil of lemon eucalyptus 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 standing water on your property that can support mosquito-breeding
- Report standing water to Butte County Mosquito and Vector Control District
- Contact Butte County Mosquito and Vector Control District if there is a significant mosquito problem where you live, work, and/or play
The public is encouraged to become part of the state’s monitoring effort for WNV by reporting any dead birds that may have been dead for less than 48 hours. Please call 1-877-968-2473 to report dead birds that may be accepted for testing, or visit the CDHS website, www.westnile.ca.gov. Individuals should take note of the location and condition of the bird before calling for further instructions. While there is no evidence that people can get the virus from handling live or dead birds, individuals should not attempt to catch or handle the birds.
The public is also encouraged to report any suspected mosquito-breeding sites and/or any mosquito activity. Reports can be made by phone at 530-533-6038 or 530-342-7350 or website at www.BCMVCD.com.
For more information call the Butte County Mosquito and Vector Control District at 530-533-6038 or 530-342-7350.
For any person(s) interested in an interview, please know that the District will be closed on Friday, July 27, 2012. District staff are available to answer any questions and/or inquiries you have Monday through Thursday, 6:00 AM to 4:30 PM.