The first confirmed case of West Nile Virus in Tehama County this year has been reported by the county’s Health Services Agency. West Nile Virus has also been reported in surrounding counties of Butte and Shasta.
As mosquitoes are the transmitter of West Nile Virus, the agency said it is important for residents to be aware of the flying pests and take measures to reduce the risk of contracting West Nile Virus.
The virus is a potentially serious illness that affects the central nervous system. It is spread by the bite of an infected mosquito. Mosquitoes become infected with the virus after feeding on birds with West Nile Virus. The mosquitoes then bite humans, horses and other animals spreading the disease.
Most individuals who are infected with the virus do not experience any symptoms, but one out of five infections produce fever, rash, headaches, and body aches.
People over 50 and those with chronic medical conditions are most likely to develop complications from West Nile Virus.
The public can stay safe from the virus by using simple, proven strategies, according to the agency, which says the best way to avoid West Nile Virus is to prevent mosquito bites by remembering the five Ds:
• DEET - When outdoors, use insect repellents containing DEET (N, N-diethyl-meta-toluamide). Always follow label instructions.
• Dawn and Dusk - Stay inside at dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are most active. Wear light colored clothing with long sleeves and long pants.
• Doors - Make sure doors and windows have tight fitting screens. Repair and replace screens that have tears or holes to help keep mosquitoes out.
• Drain - standing water from flowerpots, buckets, and barrels to eliminate mosquito breeding grounds. Change the water in pet dishes daily and replace the water in birdbaths weekly. Drill holes in tire swings so water can drain out. Keep children's wading pools empty and standing on their sides when they are not being used.
Horses can also get West Nile Virus. Although most will recover, about one out of three infected horses will die or must be put down.
Horses become infected in the same way humans do – from mosquito bites. Those that are bitten may show signs of stumbling, circling, hind leg weakness, inability to stand, and muscle tremors.
There is a vaccine to prevent West Nile Virus for horses, and horse owners should contact their veterinarians for more information.
California monitors dead birds to know when West Nile Virus is in a community.
If a dead bird is found, do not touch it or pick it up; use a shovel, gloves, or inverted plastic bags to handle the animal, place it in a plastic bag, and report the finding by filing an online report at https://westnile.ca.gov or call 1-877-WNVBIRD (1-877-968-2473).
To report standing water where mosquitoes may be breeding or problems with increased mosquito activity, please call Tehama County Mosquito and Vector Control at (530) 527- 1676.
For state information on West Nile Virus go to the website https://westnile.ca.gov. .
For more local information contact Tehama County Health Services Agency - Public Health
Red Bluff: (530) 527-6824; Corning: (530) 824-4890; or Toll Free: 1-800-655-6854.