A virus often related to West Nile Virus has been detected in Stanislaus County for the first time in more than 40 years.

The East Side and Turlock Mosquito Abatement Districts (MADs) have received confirmation from a mosquito sample in Stanislaus County testing positive for St. Louis Encephalitis.

Though this is the first detection of SLEV in Stanislaus County in more than 40 years, statewide, there have been 17 mosquito samples that have tested positive for the virus this year. The samples tested positive in Fresno, Kern, Kings and Riverside counties.

No people have tested positive for the virus, according to MADs. In 2016, there were three reports of people infected with SLEV in California. Those were the first cases in the state since 1997.

Like West Nile, most people who become infected with SLEV will never feel sick, according to MADs. Most people who do will experience mild flu-like symptoms.

“It is very important that people take precautions to protect themselves and their families from mosquito bites, said Dr. Julie Vaishampaya, Stanislaus County Public Health Officer.

MADs researchers note WNV has been on the rise with a total of 80 mosquitos testing positive this year in Stanislaus County. WNV has also been confirmed in two dead birds.

There are precautions people can take to mitigate infection, including:

  • Dump or drain standing water. These are places mosquitoes like to lay their eggs.
  • Defend yourself against mosquitoes by using repellants containing DEET, Picaridin or Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus.
  • Avoid being outdoors at dusk and dawn. These are the times when WNV carrying mosquitoes are generally most active.
  • Report neglected swimming pools to your local MAD.
  • Use tight fitting door and window screens to keep mosquitoes from entering your home.

For more information about on the viruses, click over to the California Department of Public Health.