Confirmed - West Nile Positive
Mosquitoes Found In CA
From Patricia Doyle, PhD

California - West Nile Positive Mosquitoes Found
From Michael Ziccardi <
University of California, Davis, News
Wed 20 Aug 2003 [edited]
Relying on tests conducted by the University of California, Davis, the California Department of Health Services today announced the first evidence of West Nile virus in the state in 2003. The UC Davis tests showed that mosquitoes collected in Imperial County near the Salton Sea were carrying the virus. The mosquitoes were collected by UC Davis staff researchers in the Wister Unit of the Imperial Wildlife Area, on the southeast rim of the Salton Sea. They were tested by laboratory staff members at the UC Davis Center for Vectorborne Diseases.
The state health department also said that preliminary tests at state laboratories showed that flocks of sentinel chickens from the same region are likely infected with West Nile Virus. The blood tests indicate that the chickens, which are kept in flocks outdoors, were bitten by mosquitoes infected with West Nile or a closely related virus, the health department said. The Department of Health Services coordinates statewide efforts to prevent the spread of the virus and to watch for it in mosquitoes, wild birds, sentinel chickens, horses, and humans.
UC Davis, with the largest West Nile research and testing programs in the state, is fundamental to those public-health efforts. "During the 2003 season we have tested more than 5000 groups of 1 to 50 mosquitoes each, as well as tissue samples from birds and other animals, for the presence of West Nile virus," said John Edman, director of the Center for Vectorborne Diseases and a UC Davis professor of medical entomology. "All were negative until Tuesday, when we discovered West Nile virus in this group of 27 _Culex tarsalis_ mosquitoes we collected near the Salton Sea."
UC Davis researchers recently showed that, among some 200 mosquito species in the United States, _Culex tarsalis_ is the species that transmits West Nile virus most effectively. UC Davis professor of entomology Thomas Scott and his students discovered that _C. tarsalis_ can spread the virus most efficiently to hosts such as birds, horses, and people. A significant proportion can pass the virus through its eggs to its offspring.
The UC Davis Center for Vectorborne Diseases performs the tests for the state of California to detect West Nile virus in samples from mosquitoes, wild birds, horses, and other animals. Samples from sentinel chickens and humans are tested for viral antibodies in the state laboratories in Richmond.
More information on today's announcement by the California Department of Health Services, along with public safety tips, is posted at< FONT SIZE=+1>
Michael Ziccardi DVM MPVM PhD
Director, Oiled Wildlife Care Network
Sr. Wildlife Veterinarian/Epidemiologist
Wildlife Health Center
University of California
Davis, CA 95616
[This is the first confirmation of the spread of West Nile virus as far west as the state of California. 2 previous human cases of West Nile virus infection in California are believed to have been a consequence of exposure to the virus outside of the state. - Mod.CP]
Patricia A. Doyle, PhD
Please visit my "Emerging Diseases" message board at: ngdiseases
Zhan le Devlesa tai sastimasa
Go with God and in Good Health



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