Mosquitoes carrying the West Nile virus have been found in two areas of southern San Joaquin County, the earliest positive results since testing began in 2004.
The San Joaquin County Mosquito and Vector Control District said the mosquitoes were discovered in ZIP codes 95337 (a chunk of Manteca extending south to Caswell Memorial State Park) and 95366 (Ripon).
"With this find on the heels of Memorial Day weekend, it is imperative that people take necessary precautions to avoid mosquito bites, as well as removing standing water on their properties," said Aaron Devencenzi, public information officer with the district.
In response, the district will expand testing and spraying for mosquitoes, Devencenzi said.
While most people will not suffer any lasting health issues from a West Nile infection, in rare cases the disease can lead to serious neurological problems and even death. There is no treatment or vaccine for the illness, which is spread to humans by infected mosquitoes.
Thirteen people in San Joaquin County, ranging in age from 11 to 86, were sickened by West Nile in 2012. Six of them suffered from a neurological illness, which is more serious than West Nile fever and can cause permanent impairment.
To report mosquito problems:
East Side Mosquito Abatement District: (209) 522-4098, www.eastsidemosquito.com
Turlock Mosquito Abatement District: (209) 634-1234, www.turlockmosquito.org
Merced County Mosquito Abatement District: (209) 722-1527, www.mcmosquito.org
San Joaquin County Mosquito & Vector Control District: (209) 982-4675, (800) 300-4675, www.sjmosquito.org
To report dead birds or squirrels:
Call the state hot line at (877) 968-2473 or visit www.westnile.ca.gov.
To avoid bites by mosquitoes potentially infected with West Nile:
Use insect repellent containing DEET, Picaridin or oil of lemon eucalyptus when outdoors, and wear long sleeves and long pants.
Avoid being outdoors at dawn and dusk, when mosquitoes are most likely to bite.
Install tight-fitting screens on windows and doors.
Get rid of standing water (change water regularly in pet dishes and birdbaths).
Keep wading pools empty and on their sides when not being used.
Report unusually high mosquito levels, as well as dead birds.
Source: San Joaquin County Mosquito & Vector Control District