West Nile virus was found in four dead birds in Oceanside and San Diego, California. On Tuesday, County authorities urged citizens to take necessary precautions to prevent contracting the dreaded disease.
According to the San Diego county Department of Environmental Health, authorities collected two ravens, and a Cooper’s hawk infected with the West Nile virus in San Diego. They found one dead red-tailed hawk carrying the disease in Oceanside, as well.
San Diego6-The CW reports comments made by Elizabeth Pozzebon, the director of the county’s Department of Environmental Health, “Remember to use insect repellents, wear long-sleeved shirts and pants if you’re out at dawn or dusk when mosquitoes are most active. People should also clear their yards of standing water to keep mosquitoes from breeding.”
West Nile virus is predominantly transmitted to people by mosquitoes. This year, 11 county residents caught the West Nile virus, which happens to be the most since 2008. San Diego county reported only two people were diagnosed with West Nile virus between 2010 and 2013. Officials also report a 78-year-old La Mesa male became the first local person in seven years to die from the West Nile virus.
The San Diego area experienced higher than normal temperatures this week combined with rainstorms. The Department of Environmental Health suggests this type of weather condition provides a perfect environment for mosquitoes to breed. Insects breed in standing water, like rainwater that collects in rain gutters, plant saucers, and wheelbarrows, for example.
In order to prevent getting the West Nile virus it’s important to avoid getting a mosquito bite from an insect carrying the disease. In addition, remove any standing water and make sure doors and screen windows are secure and in good condition.
Wearing protective clothing and using insect repellent can help reduce the risk of contracting the disease, as well. Additionally, swimming pools located in vacant homes that have turned green should be reported to county authorities, as well as any dead birds that didn’t perish from an obvious cause.
Avoid any unnecessary outdoor activity when mosquitoes are most prevalent, like early evening, dusk, or dawn.
Remove unused containers or old tires that may hold water and provide a breeding place for mosquitoes. Also, change water in birdbaths at least once a week.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) notes there are no vaccines or medication to treat West Nile virus. Most people infected with the infection don’t show any symptoms. However, one out of five people infected with West Nile virus develop a fever. They may also have a severe headache, become disorientated; develop a stiff neck, coma, or paralysis.
According to the CDC, the West Nile virus was discovered in the United States in 1999. More than 300 species of dead birds were found carrying the disease. Most birds survive the infection; however, some infected birds, mainly jays and crows, often die of the condition.
Check with your state wildlife agency or health department for information about reporting dead birds in your area, since local and state agencies have different policies.
If you suspect the West Nile virus is in your area you can also contact or call the United States Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services office at 1-866-487-3297, or visit their website: West Nile virus.