Bird found in Petaluma tests positive for West Nile
Published: Thursday, July 19, 2012 at 4:46 p.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, July 19, 2012 at 4:46 p.m.
A dead crow found near Magnolia Avenue and Keokuk Street in Petaluma was recently confirmed to have West Nile Virus, a mosquito-borne disease that can spread to humans.
It was the first confirmation of a bird having West Nile Virus in Marin and Sonoma Counties this year, according to the Marin/Sonoma Mosquito and Vector Control District.
“What a bird gives us is an early warning,” said Nizza Sequeira,
public relations director for the district, adding that its not yet clear whether mosquitoes in the area may be infected, as the district doesn't know where they bird may have flown in from.
To determine if the virus is in the area, the district is trapping mosquitoes in various areas around Petaluma and testing them for the virus.
If any mosquitoes are infected, the district will likely treat the specific area where they were found.
Sequeira said a bird testing positive for the virus was “no surprise,” adding that instances of West Nile Virus are spreading throughout California, especially where temperatures are high.
So far, the summer's mild weather has been less conducive to West Nile Virus, she said, but added that if temperatures increase for a long period of time, there will likely be an increase in West Nile activity too.
She added that district works year round to test for and prevent mosquito-borne disease in any known place mosquitoes might breed.
The district says that the biggest challenge it faces is dealing with mosquito breeding sites found in residents' backyards, such as ponds, bird baths, septic tanks and rain-harvesting barrels that haven't been screened correctly. Foreclosed homes with neglected swimming pools pose another risk, as they can produce more than a million mosquitoes each, according to the district
Sequeira encouraged anyone outside at dawn or dusk, when mosquitoes are most active, to apply EPA-certified mosquito repellent.
She also asked residents to report any dead birds they see to westnile.ca.gov and report any mosquito problems to the district at 800-231-32236 or www.msmosquito.com.
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