The California Department of Public Health has recorded 153 West Nile cases, more than double last year’s count.
A surge of invasive Aedes mosquitoes in California, driven by potent winter storms, summer heat, and tropical storm Hilary, has led to the first reported human cases of West Nile virus in years
This increase mirrors a nationwide trend caused by higher rainfall in specific regions. Concerns have also been raised about other mosquito species. Authorities are urging the public to eliminate standing water and implement preventive measures.
Culex mosquitoes, carriers of the virus, are widespread in California. In June, infected birds were confirmed in Simi Valley, Thousand Oaks, and Ventura, indicating heightened virus risks. The virus typically results in no illness or mild flu-like symptoms, but in less than 1% of cases, it can lead to severe neurological conditions like meningitis and encephalitis.
Dr. Robert Levin, a health officer for Ventura County, emphasized the importance of vigilance against Aedes mosquitoes in California bites. The surge of Aedes mosquitoes in California is attributed to a combination of heavy early-year rainfall, followed by scorching July and August temperatures, culminating in the impact of tropical storm Hilary. Cary Svoboda, head of a mosquito control program, noted that this final deluge provided the ideal breeding conditions for Aedes mosquitoes in California.
Aedes mosquitoes in California, known for transmitting diseases like Zika and dengue, have raised concerns due to their aggressive daytime biting behavior
Although they have been found in Los Angeles and Kern counties for years, their presence in Ventura was only discovered in 2020. Reports of Aedes mosquitoes in California have surged this year. In addition to bug zappers and vector control, authorities advise the public to take preventive steps, including emptying standing water containers, cleaning objects that can hold water, repairing damaged screens, wearing insect repellent, and reporting mosquito activity to a hotline. Mosquito fish can also be used in pools and ornamental ponds.