An American crow carcass found near Geary Road and Buena Vista Avenue in Walnut Creek has tested positive for West Nile virus, the Contra Costa Mosquito and Vector Control District reported Thursday.
It is the second bird to test positive in Contra Costa County this spring.
"Dead bird reports are crucial in identifying high risk areas so we can intervene before human cases occur," said Steve Schutz, the district scientific program manager. "Even though not all birds can be tested, the reports still provide us with vital information."
The district's news release says:
The Contra Costa Mosquito & Vector Control District reports that a dead American crow has tested positive for West Nile virus. This is the second dead bird to test positive in Contra Costa County this year. The crow was found near Geary Road and Buena Vista Avenue.
"The high level of West Nile virus activity in Sacramento is of concern to us, first of all because it is happening earlier in the season than usual, and second because we typically start seeing elevated virus risk levels here within a week or two after they do," said CCMVCD Scientific Program Manager Steve Schutz, Ph.D. "Overnight temperatures are the key factor; a few warm nights in a row is all it takes to jump start the disease transmission cycle."
Residents are urged to continue to report dead birds to the West Nile Virus state hotline: 1-877-968-2473. Reports may also be made online at www.westnile.ca.gov. Dead bird reports are an important tool for West Nile virus detection, even if the bird is not picked up and tested. Lack of dead bird reports decreases the District's ability to detect higher risk locations.
"Dead bird reports are crucial in identifying high risk areas so we can intervene before human cases occur. Even though not all birds can be tested, the reports still provide us with vital information," said Schutz.
Residents are urged to help reduce their risk of contracting mosquito-borne diseases by following these guidelines:
• Don't produce mosquitoes on your property. Dump or drain standing water. Mosquitoes can't begin their life without water.
• Defend yourself against mosquitoes using repellents containing DEET, Picaridin, or Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus.
• Avoid being outdoors when mosquitoes are present, typically Dawn and Dusk.
• Report neglected swimming pools by calling 925-771-6195 or visiting www.ContraCostaMosquito.com Anonymous calls accepted. Just one neglected pool can produce more than 1 million mosquitoes and affect people up to five miles away.
The District makes every effort to notify residents about West Nile virus activity and adult mosquito spraying events. People wishing to be notified about adult mosquito spraying in residential areas have several options. They may visit the District's website and opt to receive the maps and notifications automatically by email.There is also an option to receive media releases and the Mosquito Bytes newsletter. These communications are posted directly on the District's website. Spray schedules are also available by calling the District at (925) 771-6195 and listening to a recorded message.
Since 2005, 39 people in Contra Costa County have been diagnosed with West Nile virus. In 2006, two people died from the disease. Studies have shown that the majority of cases are undiagnosed.
Contra Costa Mosquito & Vector Control District, an independent special district and public health agency, is located at 155 Mason Circle in Concord. Call the District to report mosquito problems at (925) 771-6195 or visit their office between 8:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. to get FREE mosquitofish for ornamental ponds, horse troughs or neglected swimming pools.
For information concerning human West Nile virus symptoms, prevention, or testing, please call the Contra Costa Health Services department at (888) 959-9911. For information concerning West Nile virus and horses, please call the California Department of Food and Agriculture Animal Health Branch at (916) 654-1447.