According to the San Mateo County Mosquito & Vector Control District, two dead American crows were tested positive for the WNV a couple of days ago in Atherton and Redwood City.
The West Nile Virus is carried by mosquitoes which transmit it to birds and humans as well. Fortunately, the virus does not have such severe consequences on humans as it has on other animals.
However, 20 percent of the people who get infected with this virus experience more severe symptoms, such as fever, muscles aches, headaches, and fatigue.
But 1 percent of the victims develop a more serious health condition, known as the neuroinvasive disease which, as the name implies, directly attacks the brain.
Also, pregnant women, children, seniors, and people with weak immune system are requested to be careful because they are more vulnerable than the rest. The WNV was detected in San Jose last month as well after a couple of mosquitoes had been tested positive.
Summer represents the breeding season for the disease-carrying mosquitoes which thrive in warmer temperatures. According to Megan Caldwell, district spokeswoman, because the South Bay experience higher temperatures than the north, mosquitoes are more likely to gather here during summer months.
Culex pipiens is the mosquito species which usually spreads the WNV among Bay Area residents. In 2015, the virus was detected in April in San Mateo County, which is quite early compared to previous years.
But Caldwell stressed that even if the virus was detected later this year, it doesn’t mean that the risk level is lower. The natural enemy of mosquitoes is the rain because it cleans the area and drowns the mosquito larvae.
Health officials strongly recommend people to follow the safety guidelines. Otherwise, they will be much more vulnerable to the disease-carrying mosquitoes.
Residents should wear protective clothing such as long-sleeved shirts and trousers to prevent the mosquitoes from biting them. Also, they should purchase an excellent mosquito repellent which will be a great asset in keeping these insects at the distance.
Citizens should also make sure that mosquitoes cannot break into their houses, and they need to check around their courtyard for any sources of standing water, which represent the ideal breeding environment for the WNV mosquitoes.
Authorities declared that the human infection risk is still low, but county residents are requested to contact the California West Nile Virus Hotline at 877-968-2473 in case they see dead tree squirrels or birds carcasses which might be infected with the WNV.
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