Two dead birds have tested positive for West Nile Virus this week in San Mateo County, according to the San Mateo County Mosquito and Vector Control District.
A Western Scrub Jay was reported as infected in Portola Valley July 9 and an American Crow was reported as infected in Menlo Park July 15. The district has set traps for mosquitoes in the surrounding neighborhoods, which will be tested for the presence of West Nile Virus.
From 2004 through 2013, 64 dead birds and 16 squirrels collected in the county tested positive for the virus. To date in 2014, West Nile virus has been detected in 13 counties statewide. West Nile virus is transmitted through the bite of an infected mosquito. The primary hosts are birds, according to the district.
Humans, horses and other animals can become infected with the virus if bitten by an infected mosquito. It cannot be spread person to person, according to the district.
The San Mateo County Mosquito and Vector Control District controls mosquitoes through an integrated mosquito control program that targets the immature stages, which breed in standing water.
Reports of dead birds are an early indication that the virus is circulating in the environment. Residents are encouraged to help by reporting fresh carcasses of birds or tree squirrels to the West Nile virus hotline, online at www.westnile.ca.gov or by phone at (877) WNV-BIRD ((877) 968-2473).
To prevent mosquito breeding on your property and to prevent mosquito bites, the district advises to follow the “Three Ds”:
• DRAIN — Mosquitoes lay their eggs on standing water. Eliminate all sources of standing water on your property, including flower pots, old car tires, rain gutters and pet bowls.
• DAWN and DUSK — Mosquitoes bite in the early morning and evening so it is important to wear proper clothing and repellent if outside during these times. Make sure that your doors and windows have tight-fitting screens to keep mosquitoes out.
• DEET — Apply insect repellent containing DEET, picaradin, oil of lemon eucalyptus or IR3535 according to label instructions. Repellents keep the mosquitoes from biting you. For assistance with a mosquito problem in San Mateo County, contact the district at 344-8592 or go to www.smcmad.org.