El Dorado County health officials have
received confirmation from the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) that
a dead bird found in the Placerville area has tested positive for West Nile
virus, the first for 2016. The bird, a Western Scrub Jay, was found on August
23, 2016. There have been no reported cases of human infection with West Nile
virus this year in El Dorado County.
As of August 26, 2016, West Nile virus
activity has been reported in 36 California counties. Statewide this year, over
1,000 birds have tested positive for West Nile virus, 78 people have been
infected with the virus and two people have died.
“Confirmation of our first 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,”
said Barbara Houghton, Environmental Health Manager with the El Dorado County
Environmental Management Division.
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 El Dorado County. Activities include trapping and
identifying mosquitoes, treating neglected swimming pools, and reporting and testing
dead birds or tree squirrels (which can also become infected with West Nile
virus). 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 virus.
Houghton recommends the following tips
to 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.
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