County says initial finding of infected mosquito is no reason for panic

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) — San Diego County environmental health officials announced they have found the first sample of mosquitoes to test positive for the West Nile virus this summer.

The sample was collected last week in the Santee area. Chris Conlan, who supervises the county’s vector control program said the results should not be cause for panic or concern.

According to Conlan, this initial finding is not out of the ordinary. The West Nile virus has been showing up in some degree every summer since 2003 and this year is no different. “Since this is kind of the first finding of the year, it kind of puts us on alert, ‘Alright, it’s here.’ Now, as we go forward and continue to monitor for the virus, we’re going to be looking at just how prevalent it is – and what the overall risk is to the general public,” Conlan said.

The vector control expert said the test results may encourage people to consider more measures to protect themselves and their families from mosquitoes.

“Hey, if you weren’t worried about it before, it’s probably a good idea to take action against getting mosquito bites and clean up all the mosquito breeding you might have going on in your own yard,” Conlan said.

He estimated that at any given time, fewer than 1-2% of the mosquitoes in the county are infected with West Nile virus.

Only about 20% of the people who become infected with the virus suffer any symptoms.

To learn how to protect yourself from mosquito bites, there’s information on the county’s website, SDFightThe Bite.com.

 

Categories: Local San Diego News