Santa Cruz County Reports this Year’s First Find of West Nile Virus
(BANT) – West Nile virus was found in a bird in Santa Cruz County Wednesday, the first find this year, county officials said today.
A dead American Crow with an acute infection was sent to a California Department of Public Health office on July 6.
A Santa Cruz resident found the bird near Soquel Avenue and Morrissey Boulevard near Branciforte Middle School.
The virus primarily affects birds but it can affect other animals, particularly horses, and humans. Horses should be vaccinated, according to county officials.
The virus is transmitted through mosquito bites.
Symptoms in humans range from fever and flu-like illness to serious illness of the central nervous system in less than 1 percent of cases.
California had 442 human cases of West Nile virus last year and 19 people died.
Three human cases of the virus have been reported in the state this year. None of those was acquired in Santa Cruz County.
Santa Cruz County officials said they expected the bird would test positive because West Nile virus has been found in nearby counties.
Staff with the county’s Mosquito Abatement & Vector Control Division will work with county Health Services Agency staff and California Department of Public Health staff on this year’s response.
Vector control staff will look in the area around where the bird was found for places where mosquitoes can breed.
Vector control staff will continue to submit dead birds for testing and trap mosquitoes for testing.
Two sentinel chicken flocks will be monitored to detect for the presence of the virus in the county.
The resident who reported the bird has been told of the positive test, county officials said.
Residents are asked to drain any standing water near their homes, report any mosquito biting, standing water or swimming pools with green water.
Residents are also encouraged to report dead birds to the state hotline at (877) WNV-BIRD or online at http://www.westnile.ca.gov/.
Vector control staff can provide free mosquito-eating fish for water features in the yard and un-maintained pools.