BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — Between Kern County’s upcoming warm weather, coupled with the Kern River’s rising water levels, brings increased mosquito activity and a higher risk of mosquito-borne diseases.
The heightened mosquito presence across Kern County has prompted Kern County Public Health officials to remind the community to take precautions to protect themselves from the intrusive insects.
According to Kern County Public Health spokeswoman Michelle Corson, the first batch of mosquito samples have been confirmed for West Nile Virus (WNV) and St. Louis Encephalitis Virus (SLEV) in Kern County.
The first positive mosquito samples were identified in the 93307 and 93203 zip codes, Corson said in a statement.
A human case has yet to be reported.
Many people infected with WNV or SLEV do not show symptoms right away, but in rare cases, these viruses are known to cause severe illness and can even lead to death, Kern Public Health said in a statement.
Older adults are at the highest risk for severe illness if infected. While both WNV and SLEV have similar symptoms, SLEV is less common in California than WNV.
How to reduce mosquito breeding sites:
Remove standing or stagnating water from containers such as flowerpots, fountains, birdbaths, pet bowls and wading pools.
Clean/scrub containers that collect water weekly to remove any potential mosquito eggs.
Maintain swimming pools in working condition.
Stock garden ponds with fish that eat mosquito larvae.
Report areas of mosquito infestation to your local vector control district.
Decrease risk of mosquito-transmitted infections:
Avoid mosquitoes and mosquito-infested areas at all times of the day.
Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants when outdoors.
Apply mosquito repellant to exposed skin when outdoors.
Ensure doors and windows have screens in good repair to keep mosquitoes out of your home.