The Contra Costa Mosquito & Vector Control District confirmed today that one dead bird and two chickens tested positive for West Nile virus. The bird was found near Oakley Road and Trenton Street and the chickens near Rose Avenue and Main Street. Chickens with West Nile virus do not pose a health risk to people.
“Since our chickens are stationary, confined to an area, we know that they contracted the virus from an infected mosquito at that specific location,” said Deborah Bass, public affairs manager with the District. “This differs from a free bird such as a crow, which could have contracted the virus in a different location from where it died.”
Unlike some birds, chickens do not die or develop symptoms from West Nile virus and their eggs are not affected. Chickens fight off the disease through antibodies which are detectable in their blood.
“So, while crows and other species are devastated by the disease, other birds aren’t even affected,” Bass said. “Mother Nature is specific”.
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 case information, 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.