Mosquito Awareness Week draws attention to risks, prevention

PLACERVILLE, Calif. April 21, 2017 – The California Legislature declared April 16 through April 22, 2017 as Mosquito Awareness Week to raise awareness and educate Californians about the threat mosquitoes pose to our communities. El Dorado County health officials are reminding residents to take steps to protect themselves from mosquitoes as warmer weather approaches and to be aware of the serious risks mosquitoes present to their health including West Nile, Saint Louis encephalitis, and potentially dengue, chikungunya, and Zika viruses.

“The rainy season was longer than normal this year, delaying significant mosquito activity for several weeks,” said Dr. Nancy Williams, El Dorado Public Health Officer. “But establishing consistent routines for protecting ourselves and loved ones against the dangers posed by mosquitos is really the key, no matter when they appear,” she added.

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West Nile Virus (WNV) is primarily a disease of birds that can be transmitted to people and animals by mosquitoes. WNV is a mosquito-borne disease that can result in debilitating cases of meningitis and encephalitis and death to humans, horses, avian species and other wildlife. In 2016, there were 442 confirmed cases of WNV in 30 counties throughout California, including one case in El Dorado County. Statewide there were 19 human deaths.

El Dorado County Vector Control technicians respond to resident complaints and provide surveillance and control of mosquito sources in designated areas of El Dorado County.

Residents and visitors can reduce their risk of mosquito-borne diseases by taking the following precautions:

• Eliminate or drain all sources of standing water around your property including flower pots, old tires, and buckets. Mosquitoes can lay their eggs in sources of water as small as a bottle cap.
• Avoid activity outside when mosquitoes are most active, especially at dawn and the first two hours after sunset. If you are being bitten or see any other activity outside these time frames, please contact Vector Control.
• If you are outdoors when mosquitoes are biting, wear long pants and long-sleeved shirts.
• Apply insect repellent containing EPA-registered active ingredients such as DEET, Picaridin, IR3535, or Oil of lemon eucalyptus. Always apply according to label instructions.
• Make sure doors and windows have tight-fitted screens. Repair or replace screens that have tears or holes.

To report a dead bird, contact the West Nile Virus Hotline at 1-877-WNV-BIRD (1-877-968-2473) or visit their website www.westnile.ca.gov. To report a complaint about mosquito activity contact El Dorado County Vector Control at (530) 573-3197 in the Tahoe Basin, or (530) 621-5300 on the West Slope.