Butte County Mosquito and Vector Control District (District) received confirmation today that two dead birds have tested positive for West Nile virus (WNV). One of the birds was found in the south Oroville area and the other bird was found in the Biggs area. Both birds were Western Scrub Jays. These are the first dead birds to test positive for West Nile Virus in Butte County for 2012. During the past two weeks the District has also found six positive mosquito pools and one positive sentinel chicken. Mosquito pools are live caught mosquitoes, sorted, grouped into allotments (not exceeding 50 specimens), identified to species, and tested for the presence of vector-borne disease. With increasing mosquito populations and the detection and wide-spread distribution of WNV within Butte County and Hamilton City, the 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.
Statewide WNV activity is much higher this year than in 2011 (see chart right). 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 due to the disease.
The District's Public Information Officer, Doug Weseman states that "with WNV being reported and identified by neighboring counties and the wide-spread distribution locally, it's crucial that residents protect themselves from mosquito bites. Residents should wear long sleeves and pants and use mosquito repellents when they go outdoors, especially at the times when mosquitoes are most active (mornings and evenings). WNV is preventable, you only need to prevent the mosquito bite!" 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. For the rest of this story, please pick up a 8/15/12 edition of The Gridley Herald.