Five more birds have tested positive for West Nile virus, including four found in Simi Valley and one in Thousand Oaks, Ventura County health officials said Monday in a report in the Ventura County Star.
The five were found in the last week of June, and state test results confirmed Friday that they all had West Nile, county Environmental Health Division officials said, reports the Star. According to the Star, so far this year, eight wild birds collected in Ventura County have tested positive for the virus.
West Nile, potentially fatal in a small percentage of human cases, is transmitted by mosquitoes, said the Star. In response to the latest bird finds, all potential mosquito breeding grounds nearby will be checked and treated if necessary, officials said in the report
The virus has also been discovered in Winnetka as well as Northridge, Silver Lake and Whittier.
The Greater Los Angeles County Vector Control District confirmed Friday it has uncovered six mosquito samples carrying the virus.
Three samples were found in Northridge and one sample in each of the other areas.
It is the first sign of virus activity in Northridge, Winnetka and Whittier. So far this year, district researchers have identified 10 positive West Nile mosquito samples and one positive dead bird within its jurisdiction.
Residents can take an active role in reducing the threat of West Nile virus in their neighborhoods by taking the following steps:
- Eliminate standing water in clogged rain gutters, rain barrels, discarded tires, buckets, watering troughs or anything that holds water for more than a week.
- Ensure that swimming pools, spas and ponds are properly maintained.
- Change the water in pet dishes, birdbaths and other small containers weekly.
- Request free mosquitofish from your local vector control district for placement in out-of-order swimming pools, spas and ponds.
- Report mosquito activity near vacant or foreclosed homes.
- Report neglected (green) swimming pools in your neighborhood.
There is no cure for West Nile virus, and one in five persons infected with West Nile virus will exhibit symptoms.
Symptoms usually occur between five and 15 days and can include fever, headache, body aches, nausea or a skin rash. The symptoms can last for several weeks to months.
About one in 150 people infected with the virus will require hospitalization. Severe symptoms include high fever, muscle weakness, neck stiffness, coma, paralysis and possible death.
The public is encouraged to report dead birds to help with West Nile virus surveillance and control efforts because birds play an important role in maintaining and spreading the virus. To reach the California Department of Public Health, call their toll-free hotline at 877-WNV-BIRD or visit them on-line at westnile.ca.gov.
For more information, call 562-244-2648 or visit glacvcd.org.