The Scientific-Technical Services staff is part of a comprehensive approach to protecting public health. Their surveillance program utilizes a variety of field and laboratory techniques to monitor mosquito-borne diseases, as well as population densities of mosquitoes, black flies and midges.
Disease surveillance efforts detect West Nile virus (WNV), St. Louis encephalitis (SLE) and Western Equine encephalomyelitis (WEE) in mosquitoes, as well as antibodies for infections in wild birds and sentinel chickens. Mosquito and sentinel chicken blood samples are shipped to the UC Davis Center for Vectorborne Diseases (CVEC) for analysis.
The department is headed by a Scientific-Technical Services Director and staffed by three full-time Vector Ecologists, three Assistant Vector Ecologist and two Field Assistants.
The disease surveillance program serves as an early warning system in the detection of mosquito-borne viruses that can infect people and animals. Monitoring diseases allows the District to be more efficient and timely conducting control efforts and outreach to affected communities.
The District’s response level is based on a set of guidelines provided by the California Department of Public Health (PDF), reflecting the level virus transmission risk to humans.
Disease Surveillance Testing
Testing for the presence of virus/pathogens in mosquitoes, sentinel chickens, and dead birds helps identify the disease transmission risk before human cases occur.