West Nile virus confirmed in four more county birds | TheUnion.com

West Nile virus confirmed in four more county birds

The Nevada County Department of Environmental Health received confirmation today that three dead birds from the western county and one near Truckee have tested positive for West Nile virus .

That brings the total number of West Nile positive dead birds confirmed in Nevada County to seven. There have been no human or equine cases confirmed in the county to date.

The most recent birds to test positive were: a sharp-shinned hawk from the Nevada City area, two Western scrub-jays from the Grass Valley and Penn Valley areas, and a red-tailed hawk from the Truckee area.

With the confirmations, it is apparent that the virus is established throughout the county. Residents are encouraged to take precautions to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes.

Those people at highest risk of serious illness are people over the age of 50 and especially those that have a compromised immune system.

West Nile virus is one of a group of disease-causing viruses spread by mosquitoes. It is transmitted to humans and animals through the bite of an infected mosquito and is not spread person to person.

Mosquitoes become infected with West Nile when they feed on infected birds. Most people who are bitten by a mosquito with West Nile will not get sick. Of those who do, about two in 10 will develop an illness that is similar to a bad flu.

About one in 150 people infected will develop serious nervous system disease. There is no treatment or human vaccine for the virus. West Nile has been found in 53 of the 58 counties in California.

To reduce the risk of being bitten by mosquitoes or contracting West Nile, residents are urged to take the following precautions:

– Eliminate all sources of standing water that can support mosquito breeding, including tires, cans, flowerpots, toys and puddles. Don’t over-water your yard.

– Avoid spending time outside when mosquitoes are most active, especially at dawn, dusk, and the two-hour period after dusk.

– When outdoors, wear long pants and long-sleeved shirts during dawn and dusk or in areas where mosquitoes are active.

– Apply insect repellent that includes DEET

– Make sure that doors and windows have tight-fitting screens. Repair or replace screens that have tears or holes.

In addition, if you have a pond, a mosquito fish giveaway sponsored by the Nevada County West Nile Virus Task Force will take place from 1 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Friday, at the Nevada County Resource Conservation District office; 113 Presley Way, Suite No. 1, Grass Valley, directly across from the golf course.

In Truckee, the fish will be available from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday,

at the Joseph Government Building, across from the hospital.

Mosquito fish are in the same family as guppies. They are small and only grow up to three inches in length and feed on anything smaller than they are.

The fish prefer water temperatures between 60 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. In the summer, broods of 40 to 300 live young may be produced every three weeks. These fish occupy the shallow shore edges and usually live about three years.

For additional West Nile information, call the Nevada County West Nile information line at (530) 470-2676, or go to the county Web site at http://www.mynevadacounty.com/westnilevirus/.

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