Distribution of mosquitofish by the San Joaquin Mosquito and Vector Control District took place this past week at several locations around the county, including Escalon. That, even as officials with the district announced detecting the first evidence of West Nile Virus in the county for 2022.
Officials with the District’s mosquito-borne disease surveillance program recently detected West Nile virus (WNV) in six samples of mosquitoes found in zip codes 95209 and 95219, both in Stockton.
“These WNV positive mosquitoes are the first indicator that WNV is active in San Joaquin County this year,” said Aaron Devencenzi, Public Information Officer of the District. “As temperatures rise during the summer months, so will mosquito populations. West Nile virus will amplify within the mosquito population, leading to an elevated risk of WNV in humans.”
The giveaway of mosquitofish is one part of the process to keep mosquitoes under control; as they can be used in a variety of settings to combat the mosquito population.
“We had 28 total in Escalon,” Devencenzi said of residents attending the mosquitofish giveaway on June 21. “We give out 15 fish per resident; we were very pleased, I wish all my sites were like Escalon. We had a really good day there, the Escalon and Ripon distributions were very good.”
Devencenzi said along with the mosquitofish, there were some handouts available at the distribution staged adjacent to Hogan-Ennis Park, and officials could answer any questions residents had. A few people also took advantage of an insect repellent giveaway as part of the visit to Escalon.
There has been ground spraying done for mosquitoes already in several areas of Escalon and Devencenzi said officials are keeping close tabs on the mosquito situation locally.
“West Nile Virus is going to start moving,” he said of the weather heating up.
Adult mosquito control activities are increasing following the District’s surveillance results and the discovery of WNV in the two Stockton locations. The District does its part in controlling mosquitoes; however, officials said people must also take steps to protect themselves from mosquito bites. Residents and visitors of San Joaquin County can reduce their risk of WNV infection and other mosquito-transmitted diseases by taking several precautions.
• Eliminate all sources of standing water on your property that can support mosquito development.
• According to label instructions, when outdoors, apply insect repellent containing EPA-registered active ingredients, including DEET, Picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, or IR3535. Repellents prevent mosquitoes from biting.
• Avoid spending time outside when mosquitoes are most active, at dawn and dusk, especially for the first two hours after sunset.
• Wear long pants, long-sleeved shirts, and other protective clothing, when outdoors.
• Exclude mosquitoes from your home with tight-fitting screens on doors and windows.
• Contact your veterinarian for information on vaccinating equine against WNV.
• Report significant mosquito infestations and daytime biting mosquitoes to San Joaquin County Mosquito & Vector Control District at www.sjmosquito.org or by calling (209) 982-4675, 1-800-300-4675.
• Report dead birds to 1-877-WNV-BIRD (1-877-968-2473) or to www.westnile.ca.gov.
To learn more about mosquito and vector control activities in San Joaquin County, go to the District’s website at www.sjmosquito.org. Follow them on Facebook @SJmosquitoandvector for more tips and information.
Devencenzi added that anyone who wants mosquitofish but missed the June 21 local distribution can contact the District for assistance.
“We can bring them to their home,” he said.
Times Editor Marg Jackson contributed to this report.