Mosquitoes collected in central Fresno have tested positive for the West Nile virus, the Fresno County health department announced Friday.

“This confirmation is a strong reminder that everyone should take this disease seriously and should take every precaution to protect themselves and their families from mosquito bites,” said Leticia Berber, an educator with the county Department of Public Health.

The samples were collected by the Consolidated Mosquito Abatement District in city’s 97210 ZIP code, an area roughly bounded by Blackstone and Willow avenues to the west and east, and by Herndon and Shaw avenues to the north and south. The health department did not indicate when the collections occurred.

In May, samples from an insect trap in southwest Visalia tested positive for West Nile virus. The finding was reported by the Delta Vector Control District and the Tulare County Health and Human Service Agency.

Fourteen cases of people contracting the West Nile virus were reported by Fresno County officials in 2018. Symptoms include body aches, shortness of breath, headaches and fatigue.

There also were 119 cases of mosquito traps set by the Fresno Mosquito and Vector Control District in 2018 that indicated a presence of West Nile.

Protect Against Mosquitoes

Standing water and dark clothing are two things that attract mosquitoes. The American Mosquito Control Association (ACMA) recommends that people follow the “3 D’s” to keep mosquitoes away:

Drain: Empty out water containers at least once per week.
Dress: Wear long sleeves, long pants, and light-colored, loose-fitting clothing.
Defend: Use repellent registered with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, such as DEET, picaridin, IR 3535 or lemon eucalyptus oil.

If you want to avoid repellents with synthetic chemicals, lemon eucalyptus oil is your best bet. Other natural repellents include oils sourced from geranium, citronella, patchouli, thyme and clove.

In addition, the Vector Control District offers these tips:

Clean: Swamp coolers and water drains.
Change: Water in pet bowls and dispensers often.

Joseph Conlon, AMCA technical advisor, says, “Encouraging your neighbors to also eliminate sources on their own property is critical to a community-wide control program. Mosquitoes require water to complete their life cycle. If their water source is eliminated, so are their offspring.”

Have Your Yard Inspected

If you have questions or want to schedule an inspection to make your home safe from mosquitoes, contact the Fresno Mosquito and Vector Control District office at (559) 268-6565 or office@fresnomosquito.org.

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