Cotati, CA - The Marin/Sonoma Mosquito and Vector Control District (District) announced today that five more birds have tested positive for West Nile virus (WNV). The dead birds were collected from Santa Rosa and San Rafael. While all of the birds tested positive for WNV, lab results confirmed that only two had been recently infected with the virus; one near San Ramon Way in Santa Rosa, and the other in the vicinity of Donahue Avenue in Santa Rosa.
"West Nile virus is a serious threat to human health, but it can be prevented," stated Nizza Sequeira, Public Relations Director for the Marin/Sonoma Mosquito and Vector Control District. With wintertime just around the corner, the District urges residents to get a jump start on spring cleaning before the rains begin. "One way to help reduce mosquitoes and lessen the risk of West Nile virus is to remove items around your property before they have a chance to fill up with rainwater," stated Sequeira.
One of the most common areas District officials find mosquito production is in residents' backyards. Removing items now, before they have a chance to collect rainwater, can help reduce problems next season. A backyard checklist is available at www.msmosquito.com to help residents identify areas that are often overlooked. Residents are reminded that mosquitoes are present year-round in both counties and to report problems or suspected areas right away, even in the wintertime.
Residents can minimize mosquito problems and help reduce the threat of WNV by:
- Check septic tank lids to ensure a tight seal and repair any visible cracks.
- Screen septic tank vent pipes using a fine mesh screen.
- Check for and remove standing water that may have collected under your home.
- Be sure all rain barrels are screened and in good repair.
- Recycle old tires or store in a sheltered area, away from the rain.
- Report mosquito problems, neglected swimming pools, or any area that could be producing mosquitoes.
- Report dead birds to the West Nile Virus Hotline at 1-877-968-2473.
- Wear mosquito repellent when outdoors at dusk and dawn. Use a repellent containing one of the following active ingredients: DEET, Picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, or IR3535.
West Nile virus (WNV) is a mosquito-borne disease that is spread by the bite of an infected mosquito. Mosquitoes become infected when they feed on infected birds. Infected mosquitoes can then spread the disease to humans and other animals.
Less than 1% of people (1 in 150) infected with WNV develop serious illness. These cases may last for extended periods of time, result in permanent neurological damage and may be fatal. Approximately 20% of people (about 1 in 5) infected with WNV experience mild symptoms that may include fever, headache, body aches, nausea, rashes, swollen lymph nodes and vomiting. Approximately 80% of people (about 4 out of 5) infected with WNV do not show any symptoms.
Report dead birds to the West Nile Virus Hotline at 1-877-968-2473, or online at www.westnile.ca.gov.
The Marin/Sonoma Mosquito and Vector Control District is an independent, special district committed to protecting public health from mosquitoes and mosquito-borne diseases. All programs and services are funded through property taxes and are provided to all residents of Marin and Sonoma counties. For more information about us please visit our website at www.msmosquito.com or call 1-800-231-3236.