Fresno County health officials have received confirmed reports of two people with symptoms of the West Nile virus. There also are five suspected cases, the county’s Department of Public Health announced Wednesday.

“Confirmation of these cases is a strong reminder that everyone should increase efforts to protect themselves and their families from mosquito bites,” Ken Bird, Fresno County deputy health officer, said in a statement.

There were no other immediate details.

The county health department is working with area mosquito abatement districts and the Central California Blood Center to increase awareness about mosquitos, which carry the virus.

In June, mosquitoes collected in central Fresno by the Consolidated Mosquito Abatement District tested positive for the West Nile virus. In May, samples from an insect trap in southwest Visalia tested positive for 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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