Nevada County prepares for mosquito season | SierraSun.com

Nevada County prepares for mosquito season

Sierra Countis
Sierra Sun

As the summer mosquito season approaches, Nevada County environmental health experts are working to raise public awareness of the risk posed by West Nile virus.

Nevada County is recognizing next week as West Nile virus and Mosquito and Vector Control Awareness Week as a way to capture public attention. The goal is to educate the public that West Nile virus is an endemic disease, said Nevada County Environmental Health Director Wesley Nicks.

West Nile virus is a mosquito-borne disease first detected in the United States in 1999. The illness has been classified by experts as a seasonal epidemic, known to

cause serious illness, that typically occurs during the summer months.

In 2006, 278 human cases of the West Nile virus were reported in California. Of those, one report of the virus-related illness came from Nevada County and eight reports from Placer County, none of which were fatal, according to the California West Nile virus Web site.

The Nevada County case pertained to a Grass Valley man who reportedly became ill from the virus, said Nevada County Department of Agriculture Commissioner Jeff Pylman.

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Tahoe Forest Hospital has not seen any cases of West Nile virus, said Paige Nebeker, the hospital’s director of marketing and communication.

In preparation for this year’s mosquito season, the health department will work closely with the agriculture department to eradicate mosquito breeding sites, Nicks said.

“In Truckee the season starts quite a bit later,” Nicks said. “Temperatures are colder than in (western) Nevada County.”

Beginning in late April and early May, environmental health specialists and agricultural technicians will begin surveying mosquito breeding ponds and kill insect larvae using a bactericide, Nicks said.

Last year, anti-vector teams mapped out several areas in Truckee as stagnant water sites likely to attract mosquitoes, he said. Despite a markedly drier winter with less snowpack this year in the Sierra, Nicks said he doesn’t foresee any dramatic change.

“We don’t expect it to be extreme,” he said. “It kind of depends on the temperature. A hot spell could trigger an early mosquito season and we’re watching that real close.”