It’s the first evidence of West Nile Virus in San Joaquin County in 2021. And it wasn’t found in a mosquito … it was in a bird.
San Joaquin County Mosquito and Vector Control District’s (District) mosquito-borne disease surveillance program recently detected West Nile virus (WNV) in a dead bird (wild finch) collected in the Ripon area.
“This is the first find of WNV activity in San Joaquin County for 2021,” said Aaron Devencenzi, Public Information Officer of the District. “With warm weather, mosquito populations will continue to increase, leading to an elevated risk of WNV in humans.”
Adult mosquito control activities will increase in accordance with the District’s surveillance results. The District does its part in controlling mosquitoes; however, mosquito prevention is everyone’s responsibility, officials said. People must 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 keep mosquitoes from biting.
Avoid spending time outside when mosquitoes are most active, at dawn and dusk, especially for the first two hours after sunset.
When outdoors, wear long pants, long-sleeved shirts, and other protective clothing.
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.
Earlier this month, there was some spraying by the district in a portion of rural Escalon but Devencenzi said that spraying wasn’t related to the virus.
“That was a pass through type of mosquito; they tend to hatch all at once so they can cause some disturbance,” he explained, adding that it was a large group of pasture mosquitoes and were more of a nuisance than a threat, prompting the spraying.
Now, with the dead bird found in Ripon, the District will be doing more testing of mosquitoes for the virus and, if necessary, schedule the spraying operations.
Also, he said, they will host the annual mosquitofish distribution program, set for Tuesday, June 22 in Escalon. Hosted at the pavilion in Hogan-Ennis Park, District officials will be on hand with the free mosquitofish from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. that day; the mosquitofish have proven to be an effective tool in addressing mosquito populations in the area.
“They can come and get them or we can deliver them, that is always a service that has been available,” Devencenzi said.
He added that this year will be the 13th year for the mosquitofish giveaway program.
The District will continue to implement the California Mosquito-Borne Virus Surveillance and Response Plan to protect the public health and welfare. Spray locations and times will normally be available 24 hours in advance. People can access spray information and scheduled spray locations by calling the District at 209-982-4675 or toll-free at 1-800-300-4675 during business hours from 7 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 12:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m., Monday through Friday or by visiting the District’s website online at www.sjmosquito.org.
Times Editor Marg Jackson contributed to this story.