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Another Record-Breaking Week for West Nile Virus

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Twenty-four dead birds tested positive for West Nile virus (WNV) this week, bringing this year’s total to one horse, one mosquito pool and 96 birds.

The 20 American crows, one hawk and one California least tern were found in Oceanside, Mira Mesa, Scripps Ranch and Ramona.

“Effective prevention of West Nile virus involves both reducing mosquito breeding and using personal protection,” said Gary Erbeck, Director of the County Department of Environmental Health.

“Residents are urged to stay indoors when mosquitoes are most active. If you go outdoors, use an insect repellent, and wear long sleeves and pants, especially at dusk and dawn.”

West Nile virus is primarily a bird disease that can be transmitted from birds to humans by infected mosquitoes. About 80 percent of people infected with the virus do not experience any symptoms, but some become ill within 3 to 15 days after the bite of an infected mosquito.

County Vector Control staff is in the field daily identifying, treating and eliminating mosquito breeding sites. Since May, Vector Control has been conducting monthly aerial applications on known mosquito breeding hot spots, using mosquito larvicide applications.

County residents can protect themselves by removing standing water from around their homes to prevent breeding, making sure that window and door screens are in good condition and using insect repellent containing DEET, Picaridin, Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus or IR 3535.

The County’s West Nile virus Web site, www.SDFightTheBite.com has a mosquito prevention checklist that includes the most common backyard mosquito breeding sources from birdbaths to wheelbarrows. Residents should check their property weekly to ensure that standing water is not a breeding source for mosquitoes.

For information on WNV, or to report mosquito breeding sites, please call County Vector Control at (888) 551-INFO (4636).