BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — The Kern County Public Health Department is warning residents of the dangers of a recent increase in mosquito activity in the county.
Public Health was alerted by the Kern Mosquito and Vector Control District that recent rainy weather "has created a lot of opportunities for mosquito breeding."
Gene Abbott, the District Manager for Kern Mosquito and Vector Control, says an increase in activity has been detected.
"We have detected more mosquito activity earlier in the year than normal," Abbott said. "We need everyone in our community to help keep mosquitoes to a minimum by removing standing water around their homes."
Not only that, but warmer weather can also contribute to an increase in mosquito activity, according to the health department.
"Kern residents should take precautions to protect themselves from being bitten by mosquitoes as this is the most risky time of year for mosquito-borne illness," said Matt Constantine, Director of Kern County Public Health Services.
Of chief concern is the danger of mosquito-borne illnesses like West Nile Virus. The disease may only manifest with mild symptoms in most people, but the infection can cause severe illness in rare cases, according to the health department.
The department offers tips for preventing and avoiding mosquito bites:
Reduce Mosquito Breeding Sites:
· Remove standing or stagnate water from containers such flowerpots, fountains, birdbaths, pet bowls, and wading pools. Items not traditionally viewed as containers, like gardening tools and toys, can also collect water.
· Clean/scrub containers that collect water weekly to remove any remaining eggs.
· Maintain swimming pools in working condition.
· Stock garden ponds with fish that eat mosquito larvae. Contact your local vector control district for free fish.
· Report areas of mosquito infestation to your local vector control district.
Decrease Your Risk of Mosquito-Transmitted Infections:
· Avoid mosquitoes and mosquito-infested areas at all times of the day.
· Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants when outdoors.
· Apply mosquito repellant to exposed skin when outdoors.
· Ensure doors and windows have screens in good repair to keep mosquitoes out of your home.
Contact your local mosquito and vector control agency if there is a significant mosquito problem where you live, work, or play.