Roseville, Calif.- The first signs of increased West Nile Virus activity in the region have officials at the Placer Mosquito and Vector Control District encouraging residents to keep an eye out for dead birds and mosquito habitats.
The first bird in Sacramento County to test positive this year for the West Nile virus was announced on May 19th, and just last week, the first mosquito samples to test positive in the region have been found in San Joaquin.
“Dead birds provide an early indication of where the virus is hiding. It is important for us to find these birds in order to increase surveillance in areas where the virus may be carried by infected mosquitoes.” said Joel Buettner, General Manager of the Placer Mosquito and Vector Control District. According to Buettner, it is only a matter of time before Placer County sees an increase in West Nile virus activity.
West Nile virus had an early start this year throughout the state, and so far, drought conditions have not affected mosquito numbers in any significant way. While there may be fewer naturally-occurring mosquito habitats due to the drought, artificially-created habitats can still pose a threat. Habitats such as unmaintained swimming pools in the middle of residential areas make the interaction between people and potential West Nile virus mosquito vectors more likely, and increase the risk of virus transmission.
The Placer Mosquito and Vector Control District urges citizens to report dead birds by calling the California Department of Public Health hotline at (877) 968-2473.