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Environmental Health Services
The Division of Environmental Health Service’s Mosquito and Vector Control Program has sentinel chicken flocks placed in various locations throughout San Bernardino County to detect West Nile Virus which is transmitted through the bite of an infected mosquito. A chicken from a sentinel flock in Rialto was reported to have tested positive for West Nile Virus. This means it is more likely that the mosquito population in the area is infected, increasing the possible risk of the public being infected. Chickens are not harmed by the virus. This is the first chicken that tested positive for West Nile Virus in 2014 within the area served by the Division’s Mosquito and Vector Control Program. The County is taking steps to eliminate mosquito breeding hazards.
West Nile Virus symptoms can include fever, body aches, skin rash, and fatigue, and in some individuals can develop into a more serious form of the disease. If you have been bitten by mosquitoes and are experiencing these symptoms, contact your medical care provider.
Residents should not be concerned but can protect themselves from West Nile Virus by following these tips:
- Drain or Dump – Remove all standing water around your property where mosquitos can lay eggs such as birdbaths, green swimming pools, ponds, old tires, buckets, flower pots, clogged gutters, or even puddles from leaky sprinklers.
- Dawn and Dusk – Avoid spending time outside when mosquitos are most active.
- Dress – Wear shoes, socks, and long pants and long-sleeved shirts that are loose fitting and light colored.
- DEET – Apply insect repellent containing DEET according to manufacturer’s directions.
- Doors – Make sure doors and windows have tight-fitting screens. Repair or replace screens that have tears or holes to prevent mosquitos from entering your home.
Dead birds are another sign that West Nile Virus is present in the area. If you see a dead bird, submit an online dead bird report at http://www.westnile.ca.gov.
To learn more about West Nile Virus, visit http://www.cdc.gov/westnile. For more information or to report a green pool or mosquito breeding source, contact the County of San Bernardino Department of Public Health Division of Environmental Health Services at (800) 442-2283 or visit our website at http://www.sbcounty.gov/dph/dehs.
Did you know the Department of Public Health Division of Environmental Health Services won an award from the National Association of Counties last year for their online program for food industry workers?
The program allows food workers to have access to food worker training and testing. The online program is available in five languages and can be accessed at any time.
There was a 55 percent increase in food worker card compliance from 2010-11 to 2011-12 after the online feature debuted. To view information about the online program, click here.
This is another example of how Government Works.
CSAC writes: “Through a collaboration between the Sheriff’s Aviation Division and Mosquito Vector Control Program, San Bernardino County has implemented a state-of-the-art program using aerial surveillance to minimize mosquito breeding sources and reduce public health risks.”
West Nile Virus Aerial Surveillance Collaboration is a joint venture between Environmental Health’s Mosquito Vector Control Program and the Aviation Division of the Sheriff’s Department. The program utilizes aerial surveillance to identify and reduce mosquito breeding by targeting unmaintained swimming pools in residential neighborhoods. Addresses of green pools identified during surveillance were given to mosquito vector control to track down the owner responsible for maintaining the pools to reduce mosquito breeding. It is estimated that the Mosquito Vector Control Program potentially prevented the production of 990 million mosquitoes per week, greatly reducing the potential prevalence of West Nile Virus.
The annual CSAC awards are considered a highly competitive recognition program that honors the best and most innovative among California’s 58 counties. The County received five CSAC Challenge Awards in November 2013, including the award for the West Nile Aerial Surveillance Program.
To watch a video of the program, click here.
To read a blog about the program, click here.