By Jane McInnisIn what has become an almost weekly-advisory, more dead birds testing positive for West Nile Virus have been found in Contra Costa County in August, the most vulnerable time for the disease to spread.
"August and September are critical months for West Nile virus," said Steve Schutz, Ph.D, scientific program manager for the District in a release on Thursday.
"The mosquito species that can transmit West Nile virus are plentiful enough that they start feeding more on people as well as birds. Sometimes, there just aren't enough birds to go around," he said.
The news comes after the Contra Costa Mosquito & Vector Control District announced that 12 more dead birds tested positive for West Nile virus.
A red-shouldered hawk, 10 American crows and one Western scrub jay were found in Brentwood, Discovery Bay, Pittsburg and Walnut Creek, and one in Antioch.
According to the mosquito control district, birds act as a reservoirfor West Nile virus. There are two species of mosquitoes in Contra Costa County capable of transmitting the virus. These mosquitos prefer to feed on birds, and can infect people if they've bit an infected bird and then a human.
Here's additional information provided by the county's mosquito control:
West Nile virus symptoms of the mild form include fever, headache, tiredness, body aches, and swollen lymph glands. While the illness can last only a few days, even healthy people have reported being sick for several weeks. West Nile virus of the severe form can be fatal.
Residents are urged to help reduce their risk of contracting mosquito-borne diseases by following these guidelines:
- 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.
Since 2005, 42 people in Contra Costa County have been diagnosed with West Nile virus. In 2006, two people died from the disease. Recent studies have shown that the majority of cases are not diagnosedand grossly under reported. For 2013, a total of four groups of mosquitoes and 31 dead birds have tested positive for the virus.
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.