The soaring temperatures expected this weekend only illustrate the fact that mosquito season is far from over. And that includes the risk of contracting West Nile Virus from a mosquito bite.
A dead bird found in Lafayette Friday tested positive for the virus, according to the Contra Costa Mosquito and Vector Control District.
"The cooler weather has been beneficial so far," said Deborah Bass, public affairs manager for the District, who was quoted in Lafayette City Manager Steve Falk's Friday Summary. "But the hot weather we are expecting may lead to greater mosquito populations and possible virus amplification, which is typical in the summer. It's all about standing water. Just dump it out."
Birds carry the disease, and transfer the virus to mosquitos, which can then infect humans when they bite. In its mild form, West Nile comes with flu-like symptoms that can linger for several weeks. Severe cases can be fatal.
Two people in Contra Costa died from the virus in 2006. Since 2005, there have been 44 known cases in the county. So far this year, 58 birds and five chickens have tested positive for West Nile.
Residents are urged to help prevent the virus by taking the following precautions:
- Dump or drain standing water. Mosquitoes can't begin their life without water.
- Defend yourself against mosquitoes using repellents containing DEET, Picaridin, or Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus.
- Avoid being outdoors when mosquitoes are present, typically dawn and dusk.
- Report neglected swimming pools by calling 925-771-6195 or visiting www.ContraCostaMosquito.com Anonymous calls are accepted. Just one neglected pool can produce more than 1 million mosquitoes and affect people up to five miles away.