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Saturday, December 15 , 2018, 8:33 am | Fair 43º


Goleta Mosquitoes Test Positive for West Nile Virus

A mosquito pool at Lake Los Carneros in Goleta has tested positive for West Nile virus, and officials are working to eradicate the problem, Santa Barbara County Public Health authorities announced Tuesday.

Mosquitoes that were collected at Lake Los Carneros on April 2 tested positive for the virus, the first positive test in the county since 2006 and the first at Lake Los Carneros in 10 years.

The virus is transmitted from mosquitoes to humans, and about 20 percent of people develop symptoms, which could include fever, headache, body aches, joint pains, vomiting, diarrhea or rash, the statement said.

"It is also the earliest-ever detection of West Nile virus activity in Santa Barbara County," Public Health said. 

No cases have been reported in humans recently, and the last reported case was in 2011.

Two dead birds were found last year with the virus.

The Santa Barbara County Mosquito and Vector Management District is inspecting sites including Lake Los Carneros every other week and also treating to kill mosquito larvae. 

"Most people with this type of West Nile virus disease recover fully," Public Health said in a statement, adding that less than 1 percent of people infected with West Nile virus will develop a serious neurologic illness such as encephalitis or meningitis."Recovery from severe disease may take several weeks or months. Some of the neurologic effects may be permanent."

People can avoid the virus and prevent mosquito bites by avoiding outdoor activity during their most active hours from dusk to dawn. Bites can also be prevented by wearing long pants and long-sleeved shirts outside, using mosquito repellent and ensuring that door and window screens are secured and in good repair.

Horse owners should contact their veterinarian to have horses vaccinated, and mosquito habitats can be reduced by eliminating standing and stagnant water. 

Free mosquito-eating fish are available for permanent water sources at the Mosquito and Vector Management District of Santa Barbara County. The district can be contacted at 805.969.5050 to report mosquito problems or poorly maintained pools or spas.

Noozhawk staff writer Lara Cooper can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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