SAN DIEGO–Now that the summer temperatures are really warming up, county residents need to remember to protect themselves from mosquitoes and diseases they can carry, including West Nile virus, County officials said this week.
There hasn’t been a single human case of West Nile virus in San Diego County for the last two years, thanks in part to County mosquito-control programs including larvicide drops on local waterways and working with Sheriff’s officials to find and treat neglected, “green” swimming pools that can become mosquito breeding grounds.
But West Nile virus remains a dangerous and potentially-deadly disease throughout California and across the country. So far this year, there have been 113 human cases of West Nile virus in the U.S., including seven in California, and two deaths, one each in Arizona and Texas.
Environmental Health officials urge the public to help protect itself by remembering and acting upon the phrase, “Prevent, Protect, Report.”
· Prevent Mosquito Breeding: Dump out or remove any backyard item that can hold water, such as plant saucers, rain gutters, buckets, garbage cans, toys, old tires and wheelbarrows. Mosquito fish may be used to control mosquito breeding in backyard water sources such as unused swimming pools, ponds, fountains and horse troughs.
· Protect Yourself from Mosquito Bites: Protect yourself from the virus by staying inside when mosquitoes are most active, between dusk and dawn. Wear long sleeves and pants when outdoors. Use insect repellent containing DEET, picaridin, oil of eucalyptus or IR3535 when outside. Make sure screens on windows and doors are in good condition and secured.
· Report Dead Birds and Green Swimming Pools: Please report dead crows, ravens, jays, hawks and owls, and green pools to the Vector Control Program.
Remember, you can also sign up to receive text messages to get the latest West Nile virus updates via cellular telephone by simply texting the word PEST to the number 75309 on your cell phone.
For more information about West Nile virus, visit “Fight the Bite” website.