Dead Bird Found in Ross Valley Tests Positive for West Nile Virus

Another dead bird found in Novato earlier this month also tested positive for West Nile Virus, and officials say the warm weather may be partially to blame.


A bird found dead in Ross Valley has tested positive for West Nile Virus and the recent heat wave may be the reason for an increase of infected birds found in the North Bay, according to officials with the Marin/Sonoma Mosquito and Vector Control District.

The bird found in Ross was among the six dead birds the California Department of Public Health recently tested positive for West Nile virus. The other birds were collected from Santa Rosa, Cloverdale, Sonoma, Petaluma and Sebastopol.

The Ross bird, which was found near Walters Road, and the bird found in Cloverdale were the only two that have been recently infected with the virus, according to district officials.

The presence of West Nile virus is high this year in many areas of California, especially in areas where temperatures are high.

Nizza Sequeira, public relations director for the Marin/Sonoma Mosquito and Vector Control District, said the current milder weather forecast doesn’t mean mosquito season is over yet and residents should take the following protection measures:

  • Eliminate standing water in rain barrels, old tires, buckets, kiddie pools or any other item that can hold water for more than a week.
  • Report mosquito problems, neglected swimming pools, or any area that could be producing mosquitoes.
  • Stock backyard ponds or other permanent water features with mosquitofish. The fish are free and can be delivered or simply picked up at the District office.
  • Report dead birds to the West Nile Virus Hotline at (877) 968-2473.
  • Wear mosquito repellent when outdoors at dusk and dawn. Use a repellent containing one of the following active ingredients: DEET, Picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, or IR3535.

Another infected bird was found in Marin on Aug. 7 off Grant Avenue in Novato and three other infected birds were collected in Sonoma County around the same time. Two other infected birds were found earlier this month in Santa Rosa.

West Nile virus (WNV) is a mosquito-borne disease that is spread by the bite of an infected mosquito. Mosquitoes become infected when they feed on infected birds. Infected mosquitoes can then spread the disease to humans and other animals. 

Less than 1 percent of people (1 in 150) infected with West Nile Virus develop serious illness. These cases may last for extended periods of time, result in permanent neurological damage and may be fatal. Approximately 20 percent of people (about 1 in 5) infected with West Nile Virus experience mild symptoms that may include fever, headache, body aches, nausea, rashes, swollen lymph nodes and vomiting. Approximately 80 percent of people (about 4 out of 5) infected with West Nile Virus do not show any symptoms.

For more information or to report mosquito problems contact the Marin/Sonoma Mosquito and Vector Control District at 1-800-231-3236 or visit www.msmosquito.com. 

Report dead birds to the West Nile Virus Hotline at 1-877-968-2473, or online at www.westnile.ca.gov.


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C Ross October 10, 2012 at 03:24 PM
I'm sure that bug borne illnesses, both West Nile and Lyme Disease, are much more prevalent in Marin/Sonoma and surrounding areas than most officials and physicians are admitting, and doctors are prepared (or willing) to treat. :(
Robin Brennan October 11, 2012 at 01:20 AM
Since nobody in Ross Valley will allow spraying for mosquito abatement I suppose they can't complain.


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