A total of 38 groups of mosquitoes, 25 sentinel chickens, and 2 dead birds, are confirmed positive for West Nile virus

1 group of mosquitoes are confirmed positive for St. Louis encephalitis

Today, the Butte County Mosquito and Vector Control District (District) received confirmation that 3 more mosquito pools (a mosquito pool is a group of same specie mosquitoes) and 16 more sentinel chickens have tested positive for West Nile virus (WNV). In less than two months’ time, the District has identified WNV in 38 mosquito pools, 2 dead birds, and 25 sentinel chickens.

For the 1st time since 1969, the District has identified and confirmed the presence of St. Louis Encephalitis virus (SLEV) in a mosquito pool collected from the Honcut area. Like WNV, SLEV is spread by the bite of an infected mosquito. SLEV is related to WNV. There is no cure for either virus. Most persons infected with WNV or SLEV have no apparent illness. Initial symptoms of those of become ill include flu like symptoms such as, fever, headache, nausea, vomiting, and tiredness. Severe neuroinvasive disease can occur. In rare cases, long-term disability or death can result. There is no specific treatment for SLEV or WNV; care is based on symptoms. The District is expanding both its surveillance system and mosquito control efforts to reduce the risk of human infections.

WNV activity is now widespread throughout the valley. The District has identified the virus in areas near or in Chico, Biggs, Dayton, Gridley, Richvale, Nelson, Palermo, Honcut, Hamilton City, and outlying agricultural areas. With increasing mosquito populations, the detection and wide-spread distribution of WNV within Butte County, and the detection of SLEV 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.

WNV activity is continuing to increase throughout the state (see www.Westnile.ca.gov) and Butte County is following that trend. Matthew Ball, District Manager for the Butte County Mosquito and Vector Control District stated, “One bite from a mosquito is all it takes to fall ill. With adult mosquito


populations continuing to be found carrying the virus, the mosquitoes then have the capability of infecting our residents. It’s imperative that residents assist with the prevention of mosquito breeding by inspecting and eliminating all standing water from their properties and to protect themselves from the bite of mosquitoes.”

The District's Assistant Manager, Doug Weseman said "With increased WNV activity 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 use mosquito repellents when they go outdoors, and/or wear long sleeves and pants especially at the times when mosquitoes are most active (mornings and evenings). WNV and SLEV are 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.

WNV has been identified in Butte County every year since its arrival in 2004. Since 2004, 231 residents have been infected with the virus, 8 of which have lost their lives due to the disease.

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 District requests any and all assistance by area residents 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.ButteMosquito.com.

For more information call the Butte County Mosquito and Vector Control District at 530-533-6038 or 530-342-7350 Monday through Thursday from 6:00AM to 4:30PM.