California reports first West Nile cases of the year

California health officials have recently urged residents to take precautions after the first two positive cases of West Nile Virus were reported in the state.

The two cases were found away from major metropolitan areas in Stanislaus County, Gazettes.com reports, and officials around the state are working to keep areas of high mosquito activity in check.

“We are out there right now doing surveillance and treatment of known mosquito areas,” Nelson Kerr, acting manager of Long Beach’s Bureau of Environmental Health, told Gazettes.com, a Long Beach based news service. “We know it’s here and we would like to take this opportunity to remind folks and have them protect themselves.”

Though Kerr urged caution, he also said stressed that the virus is far from a pandemic. The steps residents should take to protect themselves from West Nile virus are relatively non-invasive. Citizens are encouraged to eliminate standing water near their homes and to not over-water their lawns. Kerr said he and his team would take care of that process in public areas, Gazettes.com reports.

The California Department of Health has warned citizens to wear fully covering clothing, use DEET, Picaridin or oil of lemon eucalyptus-containing mosquito repellent, and to make sure that homes are sealed with tight fitting screens to prevent mosquitoes from entering.

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