IMG_1877 The Contra Costa Mosquito & Vector Control District confirmed today that one dead bird each from Danville and Discovery Bay, a horse from Brentwood, and four chickens from the Knightsen area tested positive for West Nile virus.

“We monitor virus in insects and animals because it provides an indication that people are at risk of becoming infected,” said the District’s Scientific Programs Manager Steve Schutz, Ph.D. “Everyone should take all the recommended precautions to avoid mosquito bites. While the majority of people who become infected with West Nile virus do not experience symptoms, some develop West Nile fever or encephalitis, which can lead to paralysis, long-term disability or even death.”

District personnel are conducting extra surveillance and mosquito control in the areas where the virus activity was found.

The District urges the public to report dead birds to the state hotline: 1-877-968-2473. Birds are often the first sign of disease transmission. Even if the birds are not tested, the reports alone yield crucial information to protect public health.

Residents can reduce their risk of contracting mosquito-borne diseases by following these guidelines:
Dump or drain standing water. Mosquitoes can’t begin their lives without water.
Defend yourself – use repellents containing DEET, Picaridin, or Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus.
Defend your animals with West Nile Vaccine.
Avoid being outdoors when mosquitoes are present, typically dawn and dusk.
Maintain neglected swimming pools. Just one can produce more than 1 million mosquitoes and affect people up to five miles away.
Report dead birds to the state hotline: 1-877-968-2473 or by visiting the California Department of Public Health’s website. All reports are crucial.
Since 2005, 56 people in Contra Costa County have been diagnosed with West Nile virus. In 200 6, two people died from the disease. For a current list of West Nile virus activity this year,visit this page on the District’s website. For human case information, please contact Contra Costa Health Services at 888-959-9911