Mosquitoes can carry West Nile virus. Image via San Diego County Twitter

An American crow found in Lemon Grove was the fifth dead bird to test positive for West Nile virus this year, the San Diego County Department of Environmental Health reported Tuesday.

The find was relatively close to where two other dead birds were previously located, according to the DEH.

West Nile virus is spread to birds and humans by mosquitoes, and the county has an eradication program in place. Residents are also encouraged to help out by dumping water out of outdoor pots and saucers, wheelbarrows, old tires and rain gutters.

“The National Weather Service is predicting the possibility of rains this week, which makes it even more important for people to search out and eliminate any standing water on their properties that could allow mosquitoes to breed,” said DEH Director Elizabeth Pozzebon.

San Diegans should also protect themselves against mosquito bites and report dead birds to county authorities, unless there is an obvious cause of death like being hit by a car.

Last year, 11 San Diegans contracted West Nile virus and two died. While the disease has been prevalent in the state and other areas of the U.S. in recent years, San Diego County had largely avoided human cases until 2014.

No human cases have been reported yet this year in San Diego County or the rest of the state, according to the California Department of Public Health.

Four out of five people bitten by a mosquito carrying WNV won’t have symptoms. Of those who do get sick, most will have a mild headache, fever, nausea, skin rash or swollen glands.

The symptoms turn life-threatening in one out of 150 cases, mainly for people over 50 years old or those with weakened immune systems.

— City New Service

Show comments