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(PLACERVILLE, CA) – El Dorado County health officials received confirmation that a bird found in
the South Lake Tahoe area of El Dorado County has tested positive for West Nile virus, the first for
2018. The bird, a Stellar’s Jay, was collected on May 7th. So far this year, West Nile virus activity in
dead birds has been reported in three California counties (El Dorado, San Mateo and Santa Clara).
Confirmation of the West Nile virus positive bird means the virus is circulating between birds and
mosquitoes and there is heightened risk of infection in humans. It’s important to take precautions. Last
year, two West Nile virus positive birds were identified in El Dorado County (Garden Valley and
South Lake Tahoe). For 2018, no human cases of West Nile virus have been reported for El Dorado
West Nile virus can be transmitted to people through the bite of an infected mosquito. Mosquitoes get
the virus when they feed on infected birds. The illness is not spread from person-to-person. While most
people infected with the virus show no symptoms, some may have high fever, severe headache,
tiredness and/or a stiff neck that can last several days to several weeks. The most serious cases of West
Nile virus infection can lead to encephalitis, an inflammation of the brain, which can be fatal.
Mosquito surveillance programs are in place throughout the County. Activities include trapping and
identifying mosquitoes, treating neglected swimming pools, and reporting and testing dead birds. The
El Dorado County Public Health Division conducts human surveillance activities and health care
providers are asked to routinely test human cases of viral meningitis and encephalitis for West Nile
The following tips are given to help prevent West Nile virus:
Mosquito problems and neglected swimming pools should be reported to the Environmental
Management Division at (530) 621-5300 on the West Slope or (530) 573-3450 in South Lake Tahoe.
Additional West Nile virus information can be found at www.westnile.ca.gov or www.edcgov.us/emd.