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Published on March 14, 2024
Alameda County Detects First West Nile Virus-Positive Mosquito of 2024 in Union CitySource: Alameda County Mosquito Abatement District

The Alameda County Mosquito Abatement District has detected the first West Nile virus-positive mosquito of 2024, ramping up concerns for public health authorities. Caught in western Union City, the bloodsucker tested positive on March 8, according to officials. With the discovery coming hot on the heels of two virus-carrying birds found earlier this year, the district is scrambling to tamp down on the spread.

Trucks and mosquito traps are a common sight around the 880 and Alvarado Niles Rd as control measures intensify. Residents might feel they're at a stakeout, watching district personnel hunt for stagnant water havens favored by these pests, including dreaded mosquito magnets like neglected swimming pools. "It is unusual for us to have a West Nile virus detection this early in Alameda County, though it is not surprising after we found two West Nile positive birds in Union City recently," the Alameda County Mosquito Abatement District's General Manager Ryan Clausnitzer expressed in a statement.

For those keen on not becoming a mosquito's next meal, the district has laid out a four-pronged approach: Dump out standing water, minimize outdoor time during dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are most active, suit up with long sleeves and pants as well as EPA-recommended insect repellent, and ensure door and window screens are bastions against bug invasions. Betting on prevention, the district's advice points to the simple truth that the less breeding ground mosquitoes have, the lower the risk of virus transmission.

West Nile virus isn't picky, biting people and animals with potentially grave outcomes. About 20% of those bitten by a downturn in their health showed symptoms from fevers and aches to severe neurological conditions. "Less than one percent will develop a serious neurological illness such as encephalitis or meningitis," the department reported. When symptoms pop up, medical attention should be the priority, especially for vulnerable adults over 50 and those less immunologically fortified.

Meanwhile, equestrians are urged to keep their guard up, as horses don't fare well against West Nile. Vaccinations are ready, with heavy recommendations from the district for a timely visit to the vet. For further info or to request a cavalry of pest-fighting mosquitofish for troughs or pools, Alameda residents can head over to Health queries about West Nile can be directed to the Alameda County Public Health Department as they spearhead the educational push on this viral menace.