June - West Nile Virus
Margo Kerrigan, M.P.H, Area Director
Indian Health Service California Area Office
Now that summer is coming all Tribal communities should start to prepare for West Nile Virus. West Nile virus is transmitted to humans and animals through the bite of an infected mosquito. West Nile virus can cause severe illness in people and horses, although not everyone who is infected will develop symptoms. People of all ages can be affected however, the elderly may be more prone to serious illness.
The state of California now reports that West Nile Virus is in 12 counties that include: Lake, Sonoma, Solano, Sacramento, San Joaquin, Santa Clara, Contra Costa, Fresno, Tulare, Los Angeles, San Bernardino, and Orange County. To report a dead or sick bird go to CA Department of Public Health (http://www.westnile.ca.gov/report_wnv.php) or call 1-877-968-2473.
All Tribal Communities should “Fight the Bite” and follow these simple personal precautions to avoid mosquitoes and the diseases they may carry:
- Avoid outside activity between dusk and dawn, when mosquitoes are most active. If you must be outdoors when mosquitoes are active, wear lightweight clothing that covers your arms and legs and use an insect repellent containing an EPA registered active ingredient such as DEET, Picaridin or oil of lemon eucalyptus. Always follow the directions on the label.
- Make sure doors and windows have tight-fitting screens and remain closed. Repair or replace screens that have tears or holes in them.
- Eliminate mosquito-breeding sites around the home by removing standing water in potted plants, tires, bird baths and other containers where water may collect.
- Ensure that swimming pools and decorative water features are properly maintained.
- Change water in flowerpots, birdbaths and pet watering bowls located outdoors at least twice per week.