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More mosquito pools test positive for West Nile virus

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Two additional mosquito pools in Placer County have tested positive for West Nile virus, a reminder, officials say, that residents should take action to protect themselves against being bitten by mosquitoes that transmit the disease. The newly-discovered pools were found in west Placer County near the corner of PFE Road and Watt Avenue, and also on Wise Road in rural Lincoln. Other discoveries of infected mosquitoes in Lincoln and an infected dead bird in Roseville were previously announced. Fortunately there have been no human cases of West Nile virus discovered this year in the county. "Finding the infected mosquito pools reinforces the need for residents to take common-sense protective actions against mosquito bites," said Kelly Burcham, field supervisor for Placer Mosquito and Vector Control District. "West Nile is a preventable disease if people take a few simple precautions. Mosquitoes are most active at dawn and dusk, so avoid going outdoors at that time, or use an appropriate insect repellant.” People should also be checking for mosquito breeding sites in their yards and gardens, such as bird baths, pools and small ponds. An issue of particular concern is homes with neglected swimming pools, since such pools are an ideal breeding ground for mosquitoes. Residents who know of such a pool should contact the district at 435-2140. Concerned residents may also request an inspection of a property or report a dead bird online at www.placermosquito.org. Most people who get West Nile virus from infected mosquitoes won't become ill. But about 20 percent may experience mild-to-moderate flu-like symptoms which may be prolonged. About one in 150 people will become very ill. People over 50 and people with suppressed or compromised immune systems are more likely to become seriously ill. West Nile virus is rare, but people with symptoms, including high fever, severe headache and stiff neck, should contact their health care provider immediately. In Placer County last year, there were four human cases. “Prevention remains the key,” Burcham said. “We must rely on people to get out in their yards and eliminate the standing water where mosquitoes are breeding. It’s the best way to help protect your family, your community and help the District. If you need our help, please call us at 435-2140.” The Placer Mosquito Abatement District and Placer County Health and Human Services offer the following additional reminders to prevent the spread of West Nile virus: - Drain standing water weekly, since that's where mosquitoes lay eggs. Check your yard for water in old tires, flower pots and bird baths. - Avoid mosquito bites by staying indoors at dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active, wearing long sleeves and long pants, and using an insect repellant that contains DEET or oil of lemon eucalyptus. - Dead birds that test positive for West Nile virus are a surveillance tool to help track the disease. If you find a dead bird, please call the state at (877) 968-2473 to report it, or do so online at www.westnile.ca.gov. - Horses are vulnerable to West Nile virus, and many die. Contact your veterinarian about protective immunizations. West Nile does not spread between humans and horses. For more information or free presentations or materials, call the Placer Mosquito Abatement District at 435-2140. You can also obtain good information online at www.placermosquito.org or www.westnile.ca.gov. # # # #