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September 4, 2012 > More West Nile Virus positive birds in Alameda County

More West Nile Virus positive birds in Alameda County

Submitted By Erika Castillo

The Alameda County Mosquito Abatement District announced August 30, 2012 that three crows have tested positive for West Nile Virus (WNV). The District tested these dead birds in-house and all were found positive for WNV. The birds were collected from the cities of Fremont and Newark, Zip Codes 94536, 94539 and 94560 respectively. These are the first WNV positive dead birds in this part of the county.

"West Nile Virus activity has increased nationwide this year," said District Entomologist Bruce Kirkpatrick. "We have increased our surveillance and control efforts throughout the County to address the increased risk this mosquito season."

To date Alameda County has had no human or horse cases of WNV, nor have any mosquitoes tested positive. Residents of Alameda County have reported over 300 dead birds - of those, 55 were tested and five were found positive for WNV, along with one tree squirrel. To date, California has had 938 dead birds test positive for WNV.

There are 15 counties in California with current human West Nile Virus infections - 44 cases to date, including two deaths (one in each of Kern and Fresno counties). In 2011 California had 158 human cases of West Nile Virus including nine fatalities.

Residents are urged to:

DRAIN: all sources of standing water that can support mosquito breeding, and don't overwater your lawn
DAWN and DUSK: Avoid spending time outside when mosquitoes are most active, especially at dawn and the first two hours after sunset
DRESS APPROPRIATELY: When outdoors, wear long pants and long-sleeved shirts
DEET: Apply insect repellent containing DEET or Picaridin according to label instructions
DOOR and window screens: Repair or replace screens that have tears or holes.
DISTRICT: Contact us if you are being bothered by mosquitoes or know of a potential mosquito breeding source.

Most people who become infected with WNV do not experience symptoms or become ill. Only about one out every 150 people infected with WNV may develop a more severe form of the illness. Adults over 50 years old and people with compromised immune systems are at increased risk of serious complications from WNV infection. Anyone who develops symptoms such as a high fever, confusion, muscle weakness, severe headaches or stiff neck should seek medical care immediately.

As part of an on-going surveillance program, the Alameda County Mosquito Abatement District is asking the public to report any wild birds, specifically crows, ravens, jays, magpies and birds of prey that have been dead less than 48 hours, to the California Department of Public Health. Their website address for reporting the dead birds is: www.westnile.ca.gov. They can also be reached by phone: 1. 877. WNV. BIRD (1. 877. 968. 2473).

Since horses are very susceptible to WNV and three different vaccines are available for horses, horse owners are advised to contact their veterinarians immediately about timely vaccinations.

The public can access lots of information about mosquitoes and West Nile Virus on our website: www.mosquitoes.org. Residents can also pick up mosquito-larvae eating fish at our District office from 7:30 - 4:00 p.m. for their fish ponds, horse troughs, etc. We are located in Hayward at 23187 Connecticut St. Our phone number is (510) 783-7744. For information concerning West Nile Virus symptoms, prevention or testing please contact the Alameda County Public Health Department at (510) 267-8001.

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