The Shasta Mosquito and Vector Control District (SMVCD) confirmed that a dead bird reported by a local resident was infected with West Nile virus (WNv). The bird was collected in an area near Palo Cedro, 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 a warning that virus is being transmitted. People can become infected with WNv if they are bitten by an infected mosquito.
“This is our second indicator of WNv transmission in the District this year; suggesting a need to continue to prevent mosquito bites. Based on our experience, we are only half way through our peak WNv activity period and with continued average or above average mosquito populations the risk to people remains,” said Peter Bonkrude, District Manager.
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.
The Shasta Mosquito and Vector Control District advises the public to implement the 4 Ds of protection:
- Drain any standing water that may produce mosquitoes, this includes flower pots, old tires, and buckets. Some species of mosquitoes can lay their eggs in very small sources of water, like a bottle cap.
- 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.
- Dusk or Dawn avoid outside activities
- Dress in long sleeves and pants when mosquitoes are active.
Neglected swimming pools can be reported to the Shasta Mosquito & Vector Control District. One neglected pool can produce thousands of mosquitoes and infect an entire neighborhood. Dead birds can be reported to the West Nile virus hotline1 877-968-2473. Only crows, ravens, scrub jays, and magpies are being tested at this time. Birds must be dead less than 24 hours.
For more information about SMVCD’s services, West Nile virus or new emerging mosquito borne diseases like Zika virus, contact the Shasta Mosquito and Vector Control District at (530) 365-3768 or visit www.shastamosquito.org
2016 Shasta County West Nile virus activity: 1 dead bird, 0 sentinel chickens, 1 mosquito sample, and 0 humans tested positive for West Nile virus. California West Nile virus activity: 764 dead birds, 73 sentinel chickens, 1487 mosquito samples, and 3 humans tested positive for West Nile virus.