Two women reported to have contracted West Nile Virus in Merced

Merced County – Merced County Department of Public Health officials notified Merced County Mosquito Abatement District (District) that two females between the ages of 60 to 80 contracted West Nile Virus (WNV) fever in the City of Merced.

Officials estimate that the infections occurred in mid-August. These are the first human cases of WNV in the County this year. In addition to the two human cases, the District has detected WNV in fourteen (14) sentinel chickens and forty (40) mosquito pooled samples, two (2) dead birds, and one (1) horse to date in Merced County.

As of August 21, 2020, twenty-seven (27) human cases have been confirmed in California.

West Nile Virus is transmitted through the bite of an infected mosquito. County residents are
encouraged to continue their efforts to reduce mosquito breeding and WNV prevention by taking the following steps:

• Eliminate sources of standing water where mosquitoes lay their eggs.
• Avoid spending time outside when mosquitoes are most active (dawn and dusk).
• Apply insect repellent containing the active ingredient DEET when outdoors, according to label instructions.

In addition to DEET-based products, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) also
recommends insect repellant containing oil of lemon eucalyptus and Picaridin.

The District has been busy locating mosquito breeding sources and treating them by ground or aerial spray equipment as necessary. The District continues to be concerned with neglected swimming pools where WNV-carrying mosquitoes prefer to lay their eggs in urban areas.

Public health safety is the District’s main concern with regard to mosquito control.
According to officials, reporting and testing dead birds is another important step in preventing WNV.

WNV is initially brought into the area by infected birds. A confirmed case of the virus in dead birds or mosquito samples helps to identify areas that require treatment to reduce mosquito activity.

To report a dead bird, call the California State Hotline at 1-877-WNV-BIRD or report it online at

To report mosquito breeding problem areas, Merced County residents should contact Merced County Mosquito Abatement District at (209) 722-1527 or visit Anonymous reports are welcome.

For inquires regarding WNV and human infections, residents should contact the Merced County Department of Public Health at (209) 381-1200.

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