Health officials discover West Nile virus in Stanislaus County for the first time this year

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STANISLAUS COUNTY, Calif. (KTXL) — West Nile virus has once again been found in Stanislaus County and officials report it is the first time it has been found this year.

A one-person crew sprayed a Stanislaus County pasture Tuesday, a measure Dr. Wakoli Wekesa said the East Side Mosquito Abatement District takes every day

“That’s our primary concern, to make sure these diseases are kept in check and do not sicken people,” Dr. Wekesa, the East Side Mosquito Abatement District district manager, said.

The routine is especially important after Stanislaus County health officials reported they have detected West Nile virus in two mosquito samples.

“Despite the circumstances we’re living in in 2020, mosquitoes haven’t gone away,” Dr. Wekesa told FOX40.

Health officials say that so far, no one has reported that they have been infected with the West Nile virus in Stanislaus County and they have not found the virus in any of the dead birds they have tested.

Dr. Wekesa said they have crews on the ground and in the air to help curb the mosquito population.

Families can also protect themselves by wearing insect repellent and removing standing water.

“When you’re out in the evening and early in the morning, make sure you have long-sleeve shirt and pants,” Dr. Wekesa explained.

Mosquito abatement districts are not only looking out for the usual pests but they’re also keeping watch for an invasive black and white mosquito. 

“We found it last year and it disappeared in the winter,” Dr. Wekesa said. “And now it’s mosquito season, we’re expecting to see it anytime soon”

The doctor said the insects bite during the day and may transmit dengue, Zika and chikungunya viruses.

“The potential for it being able to transmit diseases that have never been here before is what we’re worried about,” Dr. Wekesa said.

The concern and the mosquitoes may persist but so will the abatement’s efforts.

“We trap mosquitoes on a daily basis and we test,” the district manager said.

If you do find dead birds or the invasive black and white mosquitoes, please call vector control.

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