STOCKTON – While the Labor Day weekend usually marks the end of summer, the San Joaquin County Mosquito and Vector Control District is warning residents that the West Nile virus remains active in the area.
Until now this year, the district has found 313 mosquito samples tested positive for the virus, the highest in the state, according to westnile.ca.gov.
The last time mosquito samples were so high was in 2016, when the district found 350. This year, district spokesman Aaron Devencenzi said that increased rainfall and warmer temperatures contribute to high concentration counts.
Devencenzi noted that samples that are positive do not mean that individual mosquitoes carry the virus. A sample, he said, is usually fifty mosquitoes or fewer of hundreds or thousands trapped throughout the county.
"We see significant levels of high concentration in South Sacramento and north San Joaquin counties," said Devencenzi. "It could be a number of things that cause the increase, but these increases are in different areas and in different years."
While mosquito samples are high this year, there were only four human cases of West Nile virus in the county this year.
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Devencenzi said the number of infected samples usually decreases as the autumnal summer approaches winter, but he warned residents to continue he wears repellent, to keep mosquitoes at bay.
"We normally see the numbers start to drop as the weather gets cooler," he said. "But there were times when we collected samples back in November, and usually a good frost will be responsible for them."
1,296 mosquito samples were collected throughout the state and 42 human cases of the virus were reported this year.
Butte and Los Angeles counties have reported six human cases, which are the most in the state. The districts of Riverside and Stanislaus reported five cases this year.
Sacramento County has collected 257 samples and Placer County 208.
"We urge people to continue to protect themselves against mosquito bites with EPA-registered insect repellent day and night, if possible wear long-sleeved shirts or long pants sprayed with permethrin and drain all ships with stagnant water, "said San Keith Baldwin Sano Joaquin County health officer.
Public Health and the district recommends residents to clear any stagnant water on their property, including flower pots, old car tires, gutters and pet bowls, as these can be breeding grounds for mosquitoes.
Ensure that swimming pools and spas are properly maintained using mosquito fish in ornamental ponds or fountains.
In addition, both agencies suggest avoiding nature in the early morning and evening hours, the peak times are these mosquitoes are active.
If you need to go outside, wear long-sleeved shirts and pants at peak times and use insect repellent containing DEET to prevent mosquitoes, the agencies said.
Report major mosquito problems to sjmosquito.org or call (209) 982-4675. You can also call (800) 300-4675. Report Dead Birds (877) 968-2473.
Contact Reporter Wes Bowers at (209) 546-8258 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @ WesBo26.