3rd bird tests positive for West Nile on South Shore | TahoeDailyTribune.com

3rd bird tests positive for West Nile on South Shore

Gregory Crofton

Another bird found dead in South Lake Tahoe has tested positive for the West Nile virus.

The bird, a Stellar’s jay, was found in the Tahoe Keys. Lab tests at UC Davis confirmed the presence of the virus, said Ginger Huber, Tahoe division manager of El Dorado County Department of Environmental Management.

El Dorado County last week reported that a bird found off Pioneer Trail in the Meadow Lake subdivision had tested positive for the virus. The week before that tests on a dead bird found off Kingsbury Grade came back positive.

A horse in Alpine County and a bird in Placerville have also tested positive for the virus, Huber said. Birds carry the virus, which can be fatal especially in older people who contract it.

Humans and horses contract it if they are bitten by a mosquito that has fed on an infected bird. Horses can be vaccinated for West Nile but no treatment is available for humans. No human cases have been reported in the Lake Tahoe Basin.

“In Southern California it took several weeks after the first bird was discovered before they started to see any human cases,” Huber said.

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The virus makes one in five people who are infected with it ill. Symptoms include fever, headache and body ache. Less than one percent of people who contract it have to be hospitalized.

For the latest information about the virus and its spread in El Dorado County, call (530) 573-3405.

– Gregory Crofton can be reached at (530) 542-8045 or by e-mail at gcrofton@tahoedailytribune.com