AUBURN, CALIF. – A dead bird found in Roseville and a mosquito pool in Lincoln have tested positive for West Nile virus (WNV), marking the first time in 2008 that the virus has been found in Placer County. In 2008, no Placer County residents have been reported as testing positive for WNV.
Placer and Amador counties this week had their first confirmed West Nile virus birds. Statewide, there are 26 counties where WNV has been detected. Four counties have had human cases. There have been 435 dead birds from 25 counties that have tested positive for WNV so far this year.
“West Nile is a preventable disease if people take a few, simple precautions,” said Kelly Burcham, Field Supervisor for the Placer Mosquito and Vector Control District. “Mosquitoes are most active at dawn and dusk, so avoid being outdoors at those times. If you are outdoors, use a repellant with DEET.”
An issue of concern in Placer County is homes with neglected swimming pools. Unmaintained swimming pools are ideal breeding grounds for mosquitoes. If you know of such a pool, please call the District at (916) 435-2140. Concerned residents may also request an inspection of a property or report a dead bird online through the District’s website: http://www.placermosquito.org .
Most people who get West Nile virus from infected mosquitoes won't become ill. But about 20 percent may experience mild to moderate flu-like symptoms which may be prolonged. About one in 150 people will become very ill. People over 50 and people with suppressed or compromised immune systems are more likely to become seriously ill. West Nile virus is rare, but people with symptoms, including high fever, severe headache and stiff neck, should contact their health care provider immediately. In Placer County in 2007, there were four human cases of the virus. In Placer County in 2006, there were eight human cases.
The Placer Mosquito and Vector Control District and Placer County Health and Human Services offer the following additional reminders to prevent the spread of West Nile virus:
- Drain standing water weekly, since that's where mosquitoes lay eggs. If you know of swimming pools that are not maintained and become “neglected” report them to the District. Check your yard for water in old tires, flowerpots and bird baths.
- Avoid mosquito bites by staying indoors at dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active, wearing long sleeves and long pants, and using an insect repellant that contains DEET, picaridin or oil of lemon eucalyptus.
- Dead birds are a surveillance tool to help track West Nile virus. If you find a dead bird, please call the state at 1-877-WNV-BIRD (1-877-968-2473) to report it, or do so online at www.westnile.ca.gov.
- Horses are vulnerable to West Nile virus, and many die. Contact your veterinarian about protective immunizations. West Nile does not spread between humans and horses.
If residents of Placer County have questions about West Nile virus or mosquitoes, are having mosquito problems, or need mosquito fish, they should call the Placer Mosquito and Vector Control District at 916-435-2140 or visit the District’s website at www.placermosquito.org .