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Remember West Nile Virus Safety This Fourth of July


SACRAMENTO, Calif., July 2 /PRNewswire/ -- With the Fourth of July weekend approaching and families and friends gathering outdoors, the Mosquito and Vector Control Association of California (MVCAC) is encouraging everyone to take precautions against West Nile virus.

"Individuals should enjoy the outdoors, but use personal safety precautions to prevent the spread of West Nile Virus and other diseases," said Dr. Mark Horton, director of the California Department of Public Health. "Wearing protective clothing, using insect repellent and eliminating standing water are just a few prevention measures."

As of June 27 this year, West Nile virus activity has been detected in 19 of California's 58 counties, according to the California Department of Public Health. On June 20, 2008, a Tulare County woman tested positive for West Nile virus infection, the first reported human case in California this year. West Nile virus is a mosquito-borne disease that can result in debilitating cases of meningitis and encephalitis and death to humans, horses, avian species and other wildlife. In 2007, West Nile Virus resulted in 16 deaths in California and sickened more than 379 others.

The following safety precautions are recommended by the California Department of Public Health:

-- DEET -- Apply insect repellant containing DEET, picaradin or oil of lemon eucalyptus according to label instructions.

-- DRESS -- Wear clothing that reduces the risk of skin exposure.

-- DAWN AND DUSK -- Mosquitoes carrying West Nile virus bite in the early morning and evening, so it is important to wear repellent at this time. Make sure doors and windows have tight-fitting screens. Repair or replace screens that have tears or holes.

-- DRAIN -- Mosquitoes lay their eggs on standing water. Eliminate all sources of standing water, including flower pots, old car tires, rain gutters and pet bowls.

-- Contact your local mosquito and vector control agency if there is a significant mosquito problem where you live or work. Contact information can be found on MVCAC's Web site:

California's West Nile virus Web site -- -- includes the latest information on West Nile Virus in the state. In order to help identify West Nile virus activity, Californians are encouraged to report all dead birds and dead tree squirrels by calling toll-free 1-877-WNV-BIRD (1-877-968-2473).

MVCAC represents 63 special districts and other subdivisions of local government responsible for mosquito and vector control, surveillance of West Nile Virus and other vector-borne diseases, and public education programs to help Californians protect themselves from the disease. MVCAC advocates safe, effective and environmentally friendly methods of mosquito and vector control.

SOURCE Mosquito and Vector Control Association of California
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