For the first time this year, the county’s Public Health Department has found evidence of the West Nile Virus in Santa Barbara: a bird, found in the Santa Ynez area, that tested positive for the disease. In a press release, department spokesperson Dr. Elliot Schulman said this indicator should motivate precaution but not alarm. “Summer is the time when mosquito activity increases. It’s a good reminder for us all to take steps to avoid mosquito bites,” he said.
West Nile Virus is transmitted to humans and animals through the bites of mosquitoes infected with the disease. Citizens have been advised to minimize their exposure to West Nile Virus and other mosquito-borne illnesses by avoiding spending time outside when these insects are most active - especially at dawn and dusk - as well as wearing long pants and long-sleeved shirts, wearing repellent, ensuring screens fit on windows and doors, and eliminating standing water in which insects might breed.
So far this year, no human cases of West Nile Virus have been reported. Humans who do contract the disease experience flu-like symptoms. For more information on the disease, visit sbcphd.org.