CALIFORNIA (KTXL) — Health officials in Sutter and Yuba counties each confirmed the first human cases of West Nile virus in 2022. 

Both people are “experiencing severe illness,” according to a joint statement from the Sutter-Yuba Mosquito and Vector Control District. 

Officials said the mosquito abundance is trending down, but the risk of West Nile virus remains high in both counties. 

“We continue to see ongoing virus activity and detections in our surveillance system. The risk for human infection is high,” district manager Stephen Abshier said in a statement. “Residents need to remain vigilant in protecting themselves from being bitten by mosquitoes.” 

Residents in Sutter and Yuba are urged to inspect their yards for anything holding water. Officials said regular landscape irrigation or unseasonable rains can provide mosquitos with good breeding habitats.

Draining or dumping water will prevent mosquito breeding, according to officials. 

“The best way to prevent West Nile virus infection is to avoid mosquito bites,” Bi-County Public Health Officer Dr. Phuong Luu said in a statement. “We want to remind everyone to stay protected by wearing long pants and long sleeves, especially at dawn and dusk when mosquito activity is high, and by wearing a good mosquito repellent.” 

The first human case this year in the Sacramento region was reported in August in Yolo County. At the time, officials said the individual was recovering after getting sick in July. 

According to officials, the West Nile virus is transmitted to humans and animals by a bite from an infected mosquito. Mosquitoes become infected when they feed on infected birds. 

To reduce the risk of getting infected, officials laid out the “Three D’s” to practice: 

  • DEET — Use a proven insect repellent like DEET. Other repellents include picaridin, lemon eucalyptus oil, para-menthane-diol, IR3535, or 2-undcanone. DEET can be used safely on infants and children two months of age or older
  • DAWN AND DUSK — Mosquitoes that transmit WNV bite in the early morning and evening. Wear proper clothing and repellent if outside during these times. Make sure doors and windows have tight-fitting screens to keep mosquitoes out. Repair or replace screens with tears or holes.
  • DRAIN — Mosquitos lay their eggs on standing water. Eliminate or drain all sources of standing water on your property, including flower pots, old car tires, rain gutters and pet bowls. For standing water that cannot be drained such as fountains, ponds, etc. consider adding “Mosquito Dunks” or mosquito fish, which feed on mosquito larvae.