Mosquito sampling underway, tests come back positive for West Nile Virus in Visalia

News

West Nile Virus is in Tulare County. We’re learning a mosquito trap there tested positive for the virus.

Russ Jenkins lives in Southwest Visalia where the discovery was made last week.

“I’m not keen on it by any means, and I was in the hospital one time and a guy had West Nile Virus and it’s pretty bad,” Jenkins said.

Jenkins says that was about four years ago when a Hanford man was debilitated from a mosquito bite.

“It’s a pretty dangerous illness,” said Mir Bear-Johnson of the Delta Vector Control District. “We know that we have West Nile circulating in the bird population and that mosquitoes have started to pick it up.”

The mosquitoes start becoming infected with West Nile around the same time every year in Tulare County. But since this detection, we’ve been seeing cold and wet weather.

“So the cold is going to keep mosquito activity low,” Bear-Johnson explained.

But she says that if a rain puddle is there for five days or longer, mosquitoes will most likely breed there.

Delta Vector uses traps to test for West Nile at nearly 300 sites.

“The vacuum sucks up the female up into the trap,” Bear-Johnson said.

This is the furthest north there’s been a positive test result in the insect in the state.

In Tulare County, in 2018 there were eight human cases of West Nile Virus. In 2017, there were thirteen.

“The most serious concern is if it causes a neurologic infection,” said Karen Haught, Tulare County Public Health Officer.

Public health says it’s important to get rid of any standing water. You can pick up mosquito fish from Delta Vector for free to put in places like your horse trough to fend off the insects.

“I’m one of those ones that mosquitoes like for some reason so we have a bunch of cans of off that we use and that seems to work,” Jenkins concluded.

Public Health says there have not been any deaths in the past couple of years in Tulare County from West Nile Virus.

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