California health officials say the proportion of mosquitoes infected with West Nile virus is at the highest level ever recorded in the state.
Last week, 52 new cases were reported in California. So far this year there have been 181 human cases reported and eight deaths. Last year at this time 101 cases had been reported, according to the California Department of Public Health.
The virus has been detected in 36 California counties.
State health officials say they expect more cases. “We expect to see more people become infected as this is the time of year when the risk of infection is the highest,” CDPH director Dr. Ron Chapman said in a statement.
CDPH recommends that individuals prevent exposure to mosquito bites and West Nile virus by practicing the “Three Ds:”
1. DEET – Apply insect repellent containing DEET, picaradin, oil of lemon eucalyptus or IR3535 according to label instructions. Repellents keep the mosquitoes from biting you. DEET can be used safely on infants and children 2 months of age and older.
2. DAWN AND DUSK – Mosquitoes bite in the early morning and evening so it is important to wear protective clothing and repellent if outside during these times. Make sure that your doors and windows have tight-fitting screens to keep out mosquitoes. Repair or replace screens with tears or holes.
3. DRAIN – Mosquitoes lay their eggs on standing water. Eliminate all sources of standing water on your property, including flower pots, old car tires, and buckets. If you know of a swimming pool that is not being properly maintained, please contact your local mosquito and vector control agency.
California’s West Nile virus website includes the latest information on West Nile virus activity in the state. Californians are encouraged to report all dead birds on the website or by calling toll-free 1-877-WNV-BIRD (968-2473).