West Nile Found In North-Area Bird

THE NATOMAS BUZZ | @natomasbuzz 

The Sacramento-Yolo Mosquito and Vector Control District received confirmation Tuesday, Feb. 14 that a house finch from the Antelope area tested positive for West Nile virus.

This bird is the first to test positive in the entire state and the first sign of West Nile virus activity in the area for the 2012 season.

“Finding the first positive bird is significant because it means that the virus is present in our area,” said David Brown, District Manager. “With the very mild winter and the warm temperatures we’ve had so far, it’s not unusual to find a positive bird so early.”

Dead birds provide information on where positive mosquito samples may also be found, and where human cases may develop later in the season.

Some species of birds such as crows, jays and magpies are very susceptible to the virus and are more likely to die from the infection. Though not all birds that are reported will be picked up and tested, the reports provide valuable information and assist with mosquito surveillance and control efforts that help protect public health. Birds are hosts for West Nile Virus and mosquitoes transmit the virus by biting an infected bird and then biting a person or other animal.

In 2011, 8 deaths and 155 human West Nile Virus cases were reported in California.

The public is encouraged to report dead birds by calling the California Department of Public Health hotline at (877) 968-2473). To report a neglected swimming pools or other mosquito breeding problems, please call (800) 429-1022 or fill out a service request form online at www.FIGHTtheBITE.net.

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