First West Nile Positive Bird in Placer County

District asks residents to watch for dead birds.

ROSEVILLE, Calif. – 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 that the number of dead bird reports coming in from the public 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.

The District has also schedules round-based treatments for the early morning on August 12th. Treatment area includes:

  • Elverta area – area north of Rio Linda Blvd to Jackson Road, between Brewer Road and Locust Road, and between Pleasant Grove Rd. and El Modena Ave.

For more information, contact the Placer Mosquito and Vector Control District at (888) 768-2343 or visit www.placermosquito.org.

2011 Placer County West Nile virus activity update: 1 dead bird, 0 sentinel chickens, 5 mosquito samples, and 0 humans have tested positive for West Nile Virus to date.

Contact: Ada Barros, Public Information Officer (916) 343-0009.

First West Nile Positive Bird for Placer County

ROSEVILLE, Calif. – The first bird in Placer County to test positive this year for the West Nile virus has been found in Rocklin.

“The bird was picked up by our staff on June 21, 2010, and test results were confirmed today,” stated Mary Sorensen, Entomologist for the Placer Mosquito and Vector Control District.

The discovery of a West Nile virus positive bird indicates that the virus is replicating in the bird population. Experts state that it will only be a matter of time before mosquitoes start testing positive for the virus, when mosquitoes start feeding on infected birds. Current District protocol is to increase surveillance in the area the dead bird was found, and District staff is already out setting additional traps. “Although no mosquito samples have tested positive in Placer County so far, there has been a significant increase in Culex populations, the type of mosquito that is the primary vector for West Nile virus,” Sorensen noted.

This news comes at a critical time in the mosquito season, just before a holiday weekend, when most people will be out celebrating and enjoying the weather. Dr. Mark Starr, Director of Community Health for Placer County Health and Human Services, is hoping that Placer County human case counts will be the same last year – zero. “In order for that to happen, everyone needs to protect themselves from mosquitoes this summer,” Starr states.

It is inevitable that people will be outside this weekend, especially during peak mosquito feeding times at dawn and dusk. However, public health experts urge residents of Placer County to defend themselves against mosquitoes by wearing an effective insect repellent.

As for the rest of the summer, the Placer Mosquito and Vector Control District recommends the 3 D’s of protection:

  • Drain any standing water that may produce mosquitoes.
  • Defend yourself and your home by using an effective insect repellent and dressing appropriately when outside, and making sure screens on doors and windows are in good condition.
  • Contact the District for any additional help controlling mosquitoes around your home.

Contact: Ada Barros, Public Information Officer (916) 380-5480.

First West Nile Positive Birds in the Region

District asks residents to watch for dead birds.

ROSEVILLE, Calif. – The first bird in the Sacramento region to test positive this year for the West Nile virus has been found in East Sacramento.

“Dead birds provide an early indication of where the virus is hiding. It is important for us to find these birds in order to increase surveillance in areas where the virus may be carried by infected mosquitoes.” said Joel Buettner, district manager of the Placer Mosquito and Vector Control District.

Experts attribute the delayed onset of mosquito and West Nile virus activity to the milder temperatures and unusual patterns of precipitation this past spring. However, they warn that with increasing West Nile virus activity in neighboring counties, it is only a matter of time before positive birds turn up in Placer.

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. Not all birds called in will be picked up and tested, but the reports provide valuable information and assist in control.

Contact: Ada Barros, Public Information Officer (916) 380-5480.