Health & Medicine

Watch out for mosquitoes – and West Nile risk – this Memorial Day weekend, officials warn

The Sacramento region has logged record-breaking rainfall levels this May – and mosquitoes are sure to follow.

Mosquitoes love standing water, and with Memorial Day activities coming up this weekend, the Sacramento-Yolo Mosquito & Vector Control District is reminding people to be wary of the blood-suckers, which can carry diseases such as West Nile virus.

“As you celebrate with a backyard barbecue, a camping trip or enjoy other outdoor activities, it’s important to protect yourself from mosquitoes by wearing an effective mosquito repellent,” Gary Goodman, district manager, said in a press release.

In 2018, the Sacramento region experienced an “intense” mosquito and West Nile virus season, with 26 confirmed human cases in both Sacramento and Yolo counties, according to the press release.

About 1 in 5 people infected with West NIle virus develop symptoms, including headache, body aches, joint pains and fatigue, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The worst cases can be life-threatening.

Local vector control officials also noted concern about two invasive mosquito species that are spreading throughout California and are capable of transmitting other dangerous viruses like Zika and dengue fever.

Here are the precautions the agency recommends to avoid the pests:

  • Wear effective mosquito repellents during outdoor activities. The CDC recommends repellants that contain DEET, Picaridin, IR3535 or oil of lemon eucalyptus, the press release said.
  • Drain all sources of stagnant water around the home. Look out for containers like flower pots, buckets, pet dishes, bird baths and fountains.
  • Avoid spending time outdoors at dawn and dusk, and wear long sleeves and pants when outside.
  • Ensure that door and window screens are in good working condition.

The agency said people can call 1-800-429-1022 if they are experiencing mosquito problems.

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