June 26, 2019
SACRAMENTO June 26, 2019 – The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) urges all Californians to protect themselves from mosquito bites during West Nile virus (WNV) season, which extends from now through early fall.
“West Nile virus activity in the state is increasing, so it is important to take every possible precaution to protect against mosquito bites,” said State Public Health Officer and CDPH Director Dr. Karen Smith.
West Nile virus spreads to humans and animals through the bite of an infected mosquito. Late-spring rains have contributed to standing water, which serves as a breeding source for mosquitoes that can spread WNV. Hot temperatures also contribute to increasing numbers of breeding mosquitoes and an increased risk of virus transmission to humans. Currently, WNV activity is within expected levels and is similar to activity at this time last year. The risk of disease due to WNV increases as the summer progresses, and declines in early fall as the weather cools. In 2018, there were 217 reported WNV cases in California, including 11 deaths. Since WNV was first introduced into California in 2003, there have been more than 6,000 human WNV cases and 303 WNV-related deaths across the state.