Health officials await tests on birds
While El Dorado County health officials are awaiting test results to determine whether two dead birds found last week were carriers of West Nile virus, two more dead birds were sent to a UC Davis laboratory on Monday.
The birds – all Steller’s jays – were found at Lake Tahoe’s South Shore.
“People have become more cognizant about what to look for,” said Ginger Huber, Tahoe division manager for El Dorado County Environmental Management Department.
With the number of West Nile virus cases in California rising to 42 people, with two confirmed cases in Nevada, health officials like Huber said the best measure against its spread is to be proactive.
The mosquito vector program at the lake is nearly complete for the season with a number of problem areas identified and sprayed to stop eggs from hatching. New problem areas, however, continue to be man-made sources such as detention basins. Also, mosquitoes have hatched in some flooded areas around Trout Creek, Huber said.
“Our program consists of documented sources or areas where we know mosquitoes breed and we treat those sources,” Huber said. “We can’t eliminate the mosquitoes but we can reduce their numbers.”
In nearby Alpine County there is no mosquito vector program. Instead, the tiny county with a population of 1,210 people has seen its health department ramp up its public information efforts by putting up posters and fliers around the community and campgrounds advising people of the potential threat.
“It is coming our way and we know it is going to be here, so right now we are getting the word out as much as possible,” said Dr. Janice Levesque, Alpine County’s Health Department director.
To report dead birds call (877) 968-2473