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Mosquito carrying West Nile Virus spotted in Shafter, how to stay safe this summer

Mosquito Illness
Posted at 5:12 PM, Jul 04, 2024

SHAFTER, Calif. (KERO) — Kern County Public Health and the Kern Mosquito and Vector Control District say they have spotted the first instance of mosquito-borne illness in 2024.

  • The mosquito found carrying West Nile Virus was located by Kern Mosquito and Vector Control District in the 93263 area code which encompasses the City of Shafter. It was found in a trap by the District during its routine surveillance testing.
  • Mark Dery, the district's Scientific Program Director, said the easiest way to prevent mosquitoes from breeding this summer is to remove any standing water on or around your home.
  • Tips on how to stay safe this summer and to see where mosquito-borne illness has been located in Kern County can be found on Public Health's West Nile Virus dashboard.
  • There are four different abatement districts that cover Kern County. To learn which district you live in, you can find that on the Kern Mosquito and Vector Control District's website.


With a long hot summer already on the books and projected for 2024, sunscreen is certainly something you should be wearing outside, but now officials are saying residents should take another precaution.

I’m Sam Hoyle your Shafter neighborhood reporter, and according to Kern County Public Health and the Kern Mosquito and Vector Control District, the first signs of mosquito-borne illness are here.

“We set traps throughout our district and we bring back the adults and we’ll sort them out by species and we’ll send the female mosquitos off for arbovirus testing. This was an adult mosquito, a culex mosquito, which is the type of mosquito that can transmit West Nile Virus.”

That’s Mark Dery, the district's scientific program director. He says as we continue into the summer months, the best way to prevent mosquitos from breeding is to ensure you do not have any standing water on or around your property.

And it doesn’t have to be a lot of water, things like flower pots, old tires, or even that empty chip bag in the bushes at the park that gets refilled by sprinklers every morning.

Now this story isn’t meant to sound the alarms, but rather keep people aware that they should be on the lookout.

So far this year, there’s been one West Nile virus sample. Over the last handful of years, the county average is about 90-some-odd sightings a year, and since 2019 there have been 70 reported cases of West Nile virus in people.

There is a vaccine against the virus for horses, but for humans, there’s no treatment.

So what should you do this summer to help yourself and those around you?

-Dont allow water to collect and stagnate around your home

-Wear long sleeves and mosquito repellant

-Report mosquito problems to your district

"We'll treat the sources that we find, both big and small. We respond to requests for — from residents for mosquito inspections. We provide mosquito fish free of charge for residents who have a pond," said Dery.

We’ll have the full list of mosquito and vector control districts and their contact information in this story on our website.

In Shafter, I’m Sam Hoyle, your neighborhood reporter.

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