Thursday, August 18, 2011

Dead crow infected with West Nile virus

Given the large number of crows inhabiting the Idyllwild environs, I thought this press release from the Riverside county Depatment of Environmental Health would be of local interest.

Contact: Keith Jones, Deputy Director
Department of Environmental Health
(951) 358-5172

Dead crow infected with West Nile virus found in Wildomar

A dead crow found in the Baxter Road area of Wildomar has tested positive for the West Nile virus, the Riverside County Department of Environmental Health announced today (Aug. 18).

The California Department of Public Health confirmed the crow that county Environmental Health officials submitted for testing on Aug. 1 was infected with the virus. The bird had what was described as a chronic infection, which means it had been infected for some time. Because crows’ daily flight patterns typically extend more than several miles from their roosting place, it is very difficult to determine exactly when and where the bird became infected.

It is not unusual for birds to become infected with the virus. The bird in Wildomar was the first confirmed case this season in central section and most of the western section of Riverside County.

The Department of Environmental Health is an active participant in the state’s Dead Bird Surveillance Program, monitoring the virus’ transmission cycle among adult mosquito populations and birds. Surveillance is important because an increase in the number of birds that die from the virus may indicate increased infection among adult mosquitoes, which poses a potential health risk to humans and horses. Individuals who find any crows, ravens, magpies or jays that have been dead less than 24 hours are asked to call the toll-free line 1-877-WNV-Bird to have them tested.

Residents can take steps to reduce their exposure to mosquitoes and the diseases they may carry:

· When outdoors, especially at dawn and dusk, apply insect repellent according to the label instructions.

· Eliminate all sources of standing water on your property that can support mosquito breeding.

· Report stagnant swimming pools in your area to your local mosquito and vector control agency, or municipal code-enforcement agency.

· Contact your local mosquito and vector-control agency if there is a significant mosquito problem where you live or work.

For more information, contact the Department of Environmental Health Vector Control Program in Hemet at 951-766-9454.

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