Triple-digit temperatures this week likely increased Sacramento region residents' risk of contracting West Nile virus, officials said Wednesday.
The Sacramento-Yolo Mosquito & Vector Control District issued a special warning reminding residents to take extra precautions against contracting the virus.
"The extremely hot temperatures of the last few days have rapidly accelerated the production of mosquitoes and West Nile virus is on the rise, putting the public at higher risk," said David Brown, District Manager.
The district announced that new evidence of West Nile virus has been detected recently in widespread areas throughout Sacramento and Yolo counties.
One person identified only as a Sacramento County resident has already died of the disease, which is spread by bites from infected mosquitoes.
Mosquitoes usually get the virus from feeding on infected birds such as crows and magpies.
Just Wednesday, 24 mosquito samples and three dead birds found in the region have tested positive for the disease, the district said.
To date, that means 18 dead birds and 58 mosquito samples have tested positive for West Nile virus in Sacramento County. In Yolo County, the count is six dead birds and 19 mosquito samples, district officials said.
Residents should protect themselves by making sure standing water is drained from any outdoor containers in which mosquitoes can breed. They should also avoid being outdoors at dawn and dusk, when the insects are most active.
Independence Day celebrations outdoors should be accompanied by protective measures against bug bites, such as effective mosquito repellents.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends using an insect repellent that contains the active ingredients DEET, Picaridin, IR3535 or the plant-based Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus.
In response to the new West Nile virus findings, the district has stepped-up surveillians and begun ground-fogging with insecticides around areas where the mosquitos and dead birds were found.
The district also warned that two new invasive and disease-carrying mosquitoes are now posing health threats to California residents.
Though not yet discovered in the district's region, these are identified as the Yellow fever mosquito and the Asian Tiger mosquito -- both of which are capable of carrying dengue fever, yellow fever and chikungunya, district officials said.
For information about spraying and ground-fogging with insecticides, visit the Fightthebite.net website.
Call The Bee's Cynthia H. Craft, (916) 321-1270.