Warmer temperatures, compared to previous years, have increased West Nile Virus activity in California. So far in 2012, 18 counties report West Nile Virus activity, making it 7 more counties than last year.
The prevalence of West Nile Virus has caused it to spread to humans. A woman from Kern County was hospitalized in June after contracting the virus.
Dead birds and mosquitoes have been tested for West Nile Virus, and numerous positive cases have been found. Of the 223 birds tested, 160 originated from Sacramento County. The increased activity of West Nile Virus is largely due to warm temperatures early in the year. This provides a longer incubation period for mosquitoes, which boosts the number of mosquitoes in the air. Mosquito females suck blood in order to nourish their eggs. During their feeding they inject saliva and other chemicals, including viruses, into the skin.
The Sacramento-Yolo Mosquito and Vector Control District has conducted aerial sprayings in parts of Sacramento County. This has reduced the mosquito population, but other precautions must be taken. Residents in Yoko and Sacramento are strongly encouraged to properly use mosquito repellent. It is also important to rid personal property of stagnant water. Mosquitoes require standing water to hatch their eggs. Cans, old tires, stagnant fountains, and moist shrubbery can collect water, and may quickly become a mosquito breeding ground.
West Nile takes 2 – 15 days to show symptoms in humans. Several symptoms can accompany this virus, but the most common is the West Nile Fever. Symptoms include body aches, tiredness, swollen lymph glands, fever, and a skin rash on the trunk of the body. If symptoms increase in severity, consult a health care professional.
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