West Nile Virus in El Dorado County - Bird Tests Positive

by admin / Jun 26, 2015 / 0 comments
Caption: : 
West Nile

2015-06-26, 22:13:42 PLACERVILLE CA

El Dorado County health officials received confirmation this week that a bird found in the El Dorado Hills area of El Dorado County has tested positive for West Nile virus, the first for 2015. The bird, a Western Scrub Jay, was found on June 16. So far this year, West Nile virus activity has been reported in 26 California counties, including neighboring Sacramento and Placer counties. No human cases of the virus have been reported in California thus far in 2015.

According to Fred Sanford, Supervising Environmental Health Specialist with the El Dorado County Environmental Management Division, it is unusual to see a West Nile positive bird this early in the season. "We don't typically get our first report of a West Nile positive bird in El Dorado County until later in the summer," said Sanford. "Confirmation of our first West Nile virus positive bird means the virus is circulating between birds and mosquitoes and there is heightened risk of infection in humans. It's important to take precautions." Last year, seven West Nile virus positive birds were identified in El Dorado County. No human cases were reported.

West Nile virus can be transmitted to people through the bite of an infected mosquito.  Mosquitoes get the virus when they feed on infected birds. The illness is not spread from person-to-person. While most people infected with the virus show no symptoms, some may have high fever, severe headache, tiredness and/or a stiff neck that can last several days to several weeks. The most serious cases of West Nile virus infection can lead to encephalitis, an inflammation of the brain, which can be fatal. 

Mosquito surveillance programs are in place throughout the County. Activities include trapping and identifying mosquitoes, treating neglected swimming pools, and reporting and testing dead birds. The El Dorado County Public Health Division conducts human surveillance activities and health care providers are asked to routinely test human cases of viral meningitis and encephalitis for West Nile virus.

Sanford recommends the following tips to prevent West Nile virus:

Drain standing water around the property and keep water in swimming pools, ponds and water troughs circulating or treated with "Mosquito Dunks" or mosquito fish.

Apply insect repellent that contains DEET or another approved substance (e.g. picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus or IR 3535) on exposed skin when outdoors.

Dress in long sleeves and pants when outdoors among mosquitoes. Mosquitoes are most active at dusk and dawn.

Make sure doors and windows have tight fitting screens, kept in good condition.

Report dead birds and tree squirrels to the State West Nile Virus hotline at (877) WNV-BIRD (877-968-2473) or online at www.westnile.ca.gov.  Wear gloves and place the dead bird or squirrel in a double plastic bag if you dispose of it yourself.

Mosquito problems and neglected swimming pools should be reported to the Environmental Management Division at (530) 621-5300 on the West Slope or (530) 573-3450 in South Lake Tahoe. Additional West Nile virus information can be found at www.westnile.ca.gov or www.edcgov.us/emd.