BEACON TRANSCRIPT – The San Diego County authorities might have just detected the first trace of the West Nile virus in 2017. They found a dead red-tailed hawk in Valley Center which tested positive for the mosquito-borne virus.
After this case, the health officials in San Diego reminded their citizens to be careful with mosquitoes and not forget the county’s health guidelines: Prevent, Protect, Report.
Since they have cold blood, mosquitoes do not usually bite in temperatures lower than 50 degrees Fahrenheit. However, this winter, temperatures tended to be a little higher than they usually were during this time of the year.
Also, rains provide environments that are suitable for the breeding of mosquitoes near our communities and, as we have seen, we have had quite an abundance of rainy weather lately.
If this was not enough, the Zika virus has been recently added to the West Nile virus among the disease causers in San Diego County. The West Nile virus arrived in the county in 2003 and, since then, it occurred naturally in the vicinity. It can affect birds and animals and even humans, if Culex mosquitoes feed with the blood of the infected animals and then bite humans.
Unlike the West Nile virus, the Zika virus is not naturally found in San Diego. It is a tropical disease that, so far, has only been brought by people who traveled in the affected areas and became infected. The Aedes mosquitoes can be found in San Diego since 2014 and are renowned for biting during daylight hours. They are the ones that can pass the Zika virus or other tropical diseases from an infected person to a healthy one.
Last year, the health authorities found Aedes mosquitoes flying around neighborhoods with people who tested positive for Zika. Thus, they had to hand-spray all these neighborhoods since mid-August until November to avoid further contamination.
The West Nile virus might not be as widespread as Zika, but 22 residents tested positive with this virus and other two died. Also, they found large numbers of birds, mosquitoes, and horses who were infected.
You can prevent the intense breeding of mosquitoes by removing any object around your home that can hold water. You can also purchase mosquito fish that can prevent their breeding in unused pools or fountains.
Also, you can protect yourself from bites by wearing long-sleeved clothes and gloves or apply insect repellent before going out. Make sure you have screens on your windows and doors to keep the insects away from your house. The West Nile virus can be deadly and it is better to prevent than to cure.
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