Official: Dead crow had West Nile |

Official: Dead crow had West Nile

A dead crow with West Nile virus found near Marysville sounded the warning for future infections in Nevada County, according to a local biologist.

The bird was discovered on June 17, making it the first case in Yuba County.

“This is going to start heating up,” said Brian Steger, agricultural biologist for the Nevada County Agricultural Commission. He predicted many cases of the disease this season.

The first human case in the state was diagnosed in Kern County earlier this month and prompted the California Department of Heath Services to issue a warning.

About one in 150 people infected will get extremely ill with migraine-like headaches, nausea, disorientation and in extreme cases, coma and death, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

One-fifth of people who get sick have a harsh, flu-like illness for several weeks. Most people who get infected show no symptoms at all.

The virus typically begins in Southern California, then spreads up the valley. Birds and horses who get the disease usually are the first indicators of the disease before human cases appear. So far, 100 dead birds and two horses have been found with West Nile in the state.

Nevada County biologists bleed sentinel flocks of chickens and capture mosquitos with carbon dioxide traps bi-weekly in efforts to detect the virus.

Local cases usually first appear in July and August, according to county environmental health specialist Peggy Zarriello.

Contact the county Community Health Services Department to report a dead bird or squirrel at 265-1450.

To report the find to the state, call (877) 968-2473. For more information, visit the state’s West Nile virus Web site at


To contact Staff Writer Laura Brown, e-mail or call 477-4231.

West Nile Virus

• The virus first appeared in the United States, in New York, in 1999. It has since spread to 48 states and to Canada and Mexico.

West Nile virus was first detected in California in 2002.

•People get the virus from the bite of an infected mosquito. It is not spread by casual contact, such as touching or kissing a person with the virus.

•People typically develop symptoms from three to 14 days after they are bitten by an infected mosquito. Less than 1 percent of individuals will develop severe illness. About 80 percent of people develop no symptoms. Symptoms may include fever, headache, nausea and vomiting.

Source: California Department of Health Services

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