The Contra Costa Mosquito & Vector Control District confirmed today that a dead bird from Antioch tested positive for West Nile virus, the first bird this year in Contra Costa County. The bird was found near the intersection of Prewett Ranch Drive and Mokelumne Drive.
“This is not a surprise as we are already seeing virus activity in surrounding counties,” said the District’s Scientific Program Manager Steve Schutz, Ph.D. “We need more people to report dead birds so that we can learn where virus might be taking place. We can only test dead birds if we receive reports from members of the public. So far this year, we are getting fewer calls than in the past and we definitely could use more,” said Schutz.
Dead bird reports from the public are critical in helping the District direct mosquito prevention operations. Members of the public can report dead birds to the state hotline at
1-877-968-2476 (1-877-WNV-BIRD) or by visiting the California Department of Public Health’s website.
Two species of mosquitoes in Contra Costa County capable of transmitting the virus prefer to feed on birds. People can become infected when a mosquito bites an infected bird and then a person. West Nile virus symptoms of the mild form include fever, headache, tiredness, body aches, and swollen lymph glands. While the illness can last only a few days, even healthy people have reported being sick for several weeks. West Nile virus of the severe form can be fatal.
Residents are urged to help 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.
- 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. All reports are crucial.
Since 2005, 55 people in Contra Costa County have been diagnosed with West Nile virus. In 2006, 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 cases, please contact Contra Costa Health Services at 888-959-9911.
Contra Costa Mosquito & Vector Control District, an independent special district and public health agency, is located at 155 Mason Circle in Concord. Call the District to report mosquito problems at (925) 771-6195 or visit the office between 8:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. to get FREE mosquitofish for ornamental ponds, horse troughs or neglected swimming pools.