First Detection of West Nile Virus in Marin County - One additional bird tests positive in Sonoma County

(Cotati), California September 19, 2007-The Marin/Sonoma Mosquito and Vector Control District received confirmation from the California State Health Department that two (2) Western Tanagers tested positive for West Nile virus. The birds were found in the vicinity of School Street in Novato. This is the first detection of West Nile virus in Marin County for 2007. In Sonoma County, one (1) Northern Mockingbird found in the vicinity of Skylane Blvd tested positive for West Nile virus... "I cannot stress the importance of the public reporting mosquito problem as well as any type of standing water.' District Manager, Jim Wanderscheid said. "I feel that I can say with confidence that one of our greatest strengths with regard to mosquito control is the overwhelming participation of our community members. We log thousands of calls a year from residents; without their support our job would be that much more difficult." Wanderscheid stated.

Adult mosquito traps have been set in the areas were the bird were collected to ascertain the abundance of mosquitoes and whether or not those mosquitoes are carrying the virus. West Nile virus is spread by the bite of an infected mosquito. Mosquitoes become infected when they feed on an infected bird.

Symptoms of WNV range from mild flu-like conditions, such as fever, headache, and nausea to a stiff neck, restlessness, stupor, delirium, and convulsions. Most cases are mild; however, fatalities can occur in extreme cases.

The Marin/Sonoma Mosquito and Vector Control District along with Dr. Fred Schwartz, Marin County Public Health Officer and Dr. Leigh Hall, Sonoma County Deputy Health Officer are reminding citizens to take these protective measures:

  • Be aware of when mosquitoes are most active, between dusk and dawn.
  • When engaging in outdoor activities, wear long-sleeved shirts, long pants, and apply insect repellant according to label instructions. Products containing the active ingredient DEET or Picaridin are the most effective.
  • Screen all windows and make sure the screens are in good repair.
  • Cover septic tanks and screen roof vent pipes.
  • Identify and eliminate all sources of standing water around your property.
  • Report mosquito problems to the District at 1-800-231-3236 or 707-285-2200
  • Report all dead birds and squirrels.

Online reporting is preferred at http://westnile.ca.gov.The toll-free line to report a dead bird is 1-877-WNV-BIRD (1-877-968-2473).

2007 West Nile virus activity:
Sonoma County: 2 equine cases,1 human, 3 birds, 0 squirrels, 0 sentinel chickens, 0 humans, 0 mosquito pools have tested positive for West Nile virus.
Marin County: 2 birds have tested positive for West Nile virus.

2006 West Nile virus activity:
Sonoma County: 21 dead birds, 1 equine fatality, 2 mosquito pools, 0 humans, 1 sentinel chicken tested positive for West Nile virus.
Marin County: 8 dead birds, 1 equine fatality, 3 mosquito pools, 1 human, 1 Western Gray squirrel, 2 sentinel chickens tested positive for West Nile virus.

For additional information, please contact:
Nizza Sequeira
Public Information Officer
Marin/Sonoma MVCD
595 Helman Lane
Cotati, Ca 94931
Office: (707)285-2093
Cell: 707-974-7073
E-mail: nizzas@msmosquito.com

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