OROVILLE, Calif. -

Butte County reports the first two human West Nile Virus (WNV) cases of the year.  According to a news release from Butte County Public Health Department, both victims are people over the age of 50.  One is from North Chico and the other is from a rural agricultural area South of Chico.

"These first WNV cases remind us that we must take precautions to protect ourselves and our families from mosquito bites," said Dr. Mark Lundberg, Butte County Health Officer.  "We are definitely seeing WNV activity in Butte County.  The public should take extra precautions to avoid mosquito bites."

As of July 23, WNV activity has been detected in 34 of California's 58 counties, with 6 counties reporting a total of 15 human cases of WNV infection.  In Butte County one dead bird has tested positive for the virus, as well as 10 mosquito pools and five sentinel chickens in three different flocks.  This is the first detection of WNV in sentinel chickens in Butte County this year.