The Shasta Mosquito and Vector Control District (SMVCD) confirmed that a dead bird identified by District staff was infected with West Nile virus (WNv). The bird was collected in an area just north of Anderson, CA. Birds are natural hosts for WNv and are routinely monitored to indicate whether the virus is active in the District boundaries. Mosquitoes transmit WNv from one bird to another when they bite to obtain a blood-meal necessary for egg development. Because WNv is fatal to many common species, dead birds serve as an early warning that virus is being transmitted. People can become infected with WNv if they are bitten by an infected mosquito.
“Based on West Nile virus indicators from last year and the continued drought in 2015, this year is likely to be very similar to 2014 ” stated District Manager Peter Bonkrude. Last year California experienced 801 human cases of West Nile virus, of those 31 were fatal.
SMVCD staff urges residents to take precautions to avoid mosquito bites; reducing activity during the peak mosquito feeding times at dawn and dusk, wearing effective insect repellent, and staying behind screened windows and doors whenever possible.
Shasta Mosquito and Vector Control advise the public to implement the 4-Ds of protection:
• Drain any standing water that may produce mosquitoes.
• Dusk or Dawn avoid outside activities.
• Dress in long sleeves and pants when mosquitoes are active.
• Defend yourself and your home by using an effective insect repellent and dressing protectively when outside and making sure screens on doors and windows are in good condition.
For more information, contact the Shasta Mosquito and Vector Control District at (530) 365-3768 or www.shastamosquito.org.