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First West Nile positive bird of year found in Rocklin

District asks residents to watch for dead birds
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The first bird in Placer County to test positive this year for West Nile virus has been found in Rocklin. "Dead birds provide an early indication of where virus activity is increasing.” said Joel Buettner, general manager of the Placer Mosquito and Vector Control District. However, public health officials have expressed concerns the number of dead bird reports have decreased this year. This could affect how quickly West Nile virus hotspots are identified. “Ideally, we’d like to get an indication of West Nile virus activity before we find WNV-positive mosquitoes in an area. Finding WNV-positive dead birds helps direct our surveillance and control efforts,” states Dr. Mary Sorensen, laboratory director for the District. The Placer Mosquito and Vector Control District urges citizens to report dead birds by calling the California Department of Public Health hotline at (877) 968-2473. Only birds suitable for testing will be picked up, but all reports provide valuable information and assist in control. For more information, call the Placer Mosquito and Vector Control District at (888) 768-2343 or visit www.placermosquito.org. According to the district’s web site, the disease can be transmitted to humans through mosquito bites. To date, there have been no reports of West Nile Virus in humans this year. About one in 150 people infected with West Nile Virus will become seriously ill. The severe symptoms can include high fever, headache, neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness, vision loss, numbness and paralysis. These symptoms may last several weeks, and neurological effects may be permanent. WNV infection can be fatal. The easiest and best way to avoid West Nile virus is to prevent mosquito bites. Since mosquitoes are most active at dusk and dawn, residents are encouraged to use an insect repellent containing an EPA-registered active ingredient when outdoors as well as wear long sleeves and pants. Other ways to prevent mosquito bites is to install screens on windows and doors to prevent the insects from entering the house. The district also urges residents to get rid of mosquito breeding sites by emptying standing water from flower pots, buckets and barrels. Change the water in pet dishes and replace the water in bird baths every three days. Drill holes in tire swings so water drains out. Also, keep children's wading pools empty and on their sides when they aren't being used. -- Staff report