Ag office urges precautions to prevent West Nile virus

A vector control technician holds a mosquito trap filled with mosquitoes in Hollister in 2008.

There have been at least four deaths from the West Nile Virus in California, according to the California Department of Public Health.  
While there have been no fatalities from the virus in San Benito County this year, but there have been four fatalities in northern California with two deaths in Stanislaus County and one in Sacramento County and Shasta County, respectively.
The West Nile virus is commonly transmitted to humans by mosquitos and there are no vaccines or medications to treat or prevent the virus, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. About one in five people who are infected will develop a fever with other symptoms, according to the CDC. Less than 1 percent of infected people develop a serious, sometimes fatal, neurological illness, according to the CDC.
The San Benito County Agricultural Commissioner’s Office Mosquito Abatement program is issuing the following recommendations to help residents minimize mosquito bites this summer:
1) Minimize time spent outdoors at dawn and dusk, which are the prime mosquito flying hours.
2) Wear light, loose-fitting long-sleeved shirts and pants and wear U.S. Environmental Protection Agency-registered mosquito repellent outside at dawn and dusk.
When selecting a mosquito repellent, look for Deet (N,N-diethyl-m-toluamide), Picaridin (KBR 3023), Oil of lemon eucalyptus (p-methane 3,8-diol or PMD) and IR3535 (also called Merck 3535). Of these, Deet is considered the most effective and best studied repellent currently available, according to a press release from the San Benito County Agricultural Commissioner’s Office Mosquito Abatement program.
The EPA has an online search tool to help people compare skin-applied repellent products here: cfpub.epa.gov/oppref/insect.

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