Before heading outside – especially in the dawn and dusk hours – Colusa residents should take a few seconds to apply a healthy dose of insect repellent: West Nile Virus is present in the area again.
Five of the ten sentinel chickens that are part of the Colusa Mosquito Abatement District monitoring program recently tested positive for the virus.
Manager David Whitesell received confirmation for the State Health Department on July 26.
“With the chickens converting, it tells you that West Nile Virus is around, and people need to be aware to avoid mosquito bites,” Whitesell said.
Abatement District’s chickens test positive for West Nile
“We will probably be closing down this zip code to dead bird testing. We already know it’s here, and it’s not going away.”
The five sentinel chickens in Colusa County are among 84 total in 12 counties that have tested positive for the virus in 2016.
Statewide, there has been a total of 10 human cases of the virus reported this year. In Northern California, there have been only three reported human cases: one in Sacramento County, one in Yuba County, and one in Tehama County. While Colusa County has yet to have a human case reported this year, there was one symptomatic human case in 2015, three in 2014, and two in 2013.
Whitesell said that his department’s control measures were in full swing, and that they were also actively monitoring for Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus – the vectors for the Zika Virus.
“My guys have been trained to identify them. We are monitoring for them, and also putting out traps that are geared more toward those mosquitoes,” Whitesell said.
While those mosquitoes have yet to be discovered in Colusa County, “I believe It’s only a matter of time,” Whitesell said.
“They’re pretty adaptable, and they came from a hot area anyway. With all of the rice, the heat and the humidity, I think they would survive fine here — but we’re on top of this.”