Santa Barbara County's Mosquito & Vector Management District has detected the presence of West Nile Virus in the county.
The county says a sample of mosquitoes collected from a mosquito trap in Santa Barbara tested positive for the virus.
"This is not the first time West Nile virus has been found in Santa Barbara County, but it has been three years since it was last detected," said District General Manager Brian Cabrera.
People can get West Nile Virus from the bite of an infected mosquito. Many people don't develop symptoms, but about one in five may experience fever, headache, muscle ache, and/or nausea.
Approximately 1% of those infected can develop serious complications that can lead to death.
To avoid mosquito bites, district officials urge you to follow the "Three Ds":
- Deet - use Deet or other repellents approved by the Environmental Protection Agency
- Dawn and Dusk - avoid being outside at these times when mosquitoes are most active
- Drain - empty all sources of stagnant water where mosquitoes may lay their eggs, including buckets, bird baths, clogged rain gutters, old tires, containers of all kinds, unused hot tubs, etc.
To report larger sources of water where mosquitoes are breeding, such as neglected swimming pools or stagnant water in creek beds and washes, call (805) 969-5050.
Residents are also encouraged to report the discovery of dead birds, because wild birds are the main source of the virus for mosquitoes. Reports can be filed online at http://westnile.ca.gov/report.php or by calling 1-877-968-2473 (1-877-WNV-BIRD).
Horses are also susceptible to West Nile Virus, but there is a vaccine available.