Bird infected with West Nile found in El Dorado County
A raven found in the El Dorado Hills area tested positive for West Nile virus, the fourth such bird found in the western part of the county that tested positive, officials say.
The infected raven was found near Brown’s Ravine Recreation Area on the West Slope and was reported to the state West Nile hotline on Friday. It later tested positive at the El Dorado County Public Health Laboratory. Sacramento County has reported two human cases and is experiencing an increased number of dead birds. Sutter County reported its first human case on Friday.
“It is critical that people understand that there is an increased risk for disease at this time and they need to take precautions now to avoid mosquito bites,” stated Virginia Huber, spokesperson for the County’s West Nile Virus Task Force.
West Nile virus is one of a group of disease-causing viruses spread by mosquitoes. It first appeared in the United States in 1999. The virus is transmitted to humans and animals through the bite of an infected mosquito. Mosquitoes become infected with West Nile when they feed on infected birds.
Meanwhile, a dead bird found in the western Nevada County community of Penn Valley tested positive for West Nile virus, according to county health officials.
“This is the first confirmation of the presence of West Nile virus in Nevada County, but adjacent counties already have reported bird cases,” said Larry Sage, director of the county’s Department of Environmental Health.
Sage said there have been no human or equine cases found with the virus in Nevada County to date. Activity in terms of dead bird reports has been much greater in the southern and central areas of California so far in 2005.
You can reduce the risk of being bitten by mosquitoes or contracting West Nile virus by taking these precautions:
— Defend yourself against mosquitoes by using a repellent with an effective active ingredient such as DEET, Picaridin or Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus. Follow label directions.
— Dawn and Dusk are times to avoid since this is when mosquitoes are most active
— Dress appropriately by wearing long pants and long-sleeved shirts when outdoors and mosquitoes are present
— Drain any standing water on your property
— Door and window screens should be in good repair and tight-fitting
— Dead birds should be reported to 877-WNV-BIRD (877 968-2473)
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