SACRAMENTO (KRON) – The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) issued a press release this afternoon cautioning the public to protect themselves from an increase in West Nile virus (WNV) activity.

The virus, which is active from late spring to early fall, is seeing more activity as winter rains turn into standing water and the summer temperatures create a prime breeding source for mosquitoes.

“West Nile virus activity in the state is increasing, so it is important to take every possible precaution to protect against mosquito bites,” said State Public Health Officer and CDPH Director Dr. Karen Smith.

While WNV activity is within expected levels, the risk increases throughout the summer and the CDPH wants to spread the word on how to cut down on potential infection.

People 50 years of age and older, and individuals with diabetes or hypertension, have a higher risk of getting sick and are more likely to develop complications from WNV infection, including neurological illnesses encephalitis or meningitis.

The CDPH recommends that the public apply Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approved insect repellent, wear clothing that covers the body during dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are most active, and to remove standing water around your property.

Residents are also encouraged to report dead birds on California’s West Nile virus website or by calling toll-free 1-877-WNV-BIRD (968-2473)