IMPERIAL COUNTY - The fall season brings with it cooler temperatures and more outdoor activity in Imperial County. But it also brings with it a deadly virus, The West Nile Virus.
Yesterday's West Nile Virus report was the first one this year and only the seventh human case since it was discovered locally in August of 2003.
Timothy Hodgkin is the Vector Control Supervisor at the Imperial County Public Health Department. He says that the county does what it can to prevent this virus from spreading.
"The County Vector Control Section covers the whole County including all the cities and we go out and we do surveillance for mosquito breeding", says Timothy, "We respond to complaints and we control the mosquitoes to an acceptable level".
The department uses different methods of eradicating the mosquitoes while they're still in the larvae state, before they're full grown adults.
With campaigns like "Fight the Bite", the county informs the public of how they can prevent the West Nile Virus from spreading, seeing as mosquitoes are found everywhere.
"We find mosquitoes in agricultural areas, residential areas certainly, abandoned swimming pools or non-maintained swimming pools have been a large challenge for us".
Timothy says that Imperial County was pretty fortunate this past monsoon season. Despite several floods and strong rainstorms, the water receded quickly enough to not sit around and let mosquitoes make it their home.
Most of the cases of West Nile have been reported towards the end of the summer, when residents tend to start coming out again and enjoy the great outdoors.
Besides the routine checks, the health department will also conduct surveillance based on resident's phone calls.
Timothy encourages all residents to call in if they have mosquito problems.
If you are bitten by a mosquito and start to feel ill, the health department urges you to contact your doctor.
According to the Public Health Department, individuals can reduce the risk of mosquito-borne diseases by taking the following precautions.
- Limit time outdoors during dawn and early evening.
- When outdoors, wear loose fitting, light colored, long-sleeve shirts and pants when mosquitoes are most active (during dusk and dawn).
- Apply insect repellent that contains DEET, Picaridin or oil of lemon eucalyptus according to label instructions.
- Make sure that doors and windows have tight fitting screens. Repair or replace screens that have tears or holes.
- Eliminate all sources of standing water on your property that can support mosquito breeding, including broken or abandoned pools and fountains.
- Contact Vector Control if there is a significant mosquito problem where you live or work.
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