PALMDALE – A dead bird found in Palmdale has tested positive for West Nile virus, according to the Antelope Valley Mosquito and Vector Control District. The dead raven was reported to the State’s Dead Bird Hotline on July 1 by an observant resident near Avenue S and 10th Street East.
“After the hotline staff determines that a bird qualifies for testing, they contact our office and we retrieve the bird and take samples, which are then sent to the lab at UC Davis,” said District Entomologist Karen Mellor. “This is a very important part of our mosquito-borne disease surveillance and we rely on residents to report dead birds for it to work.”
To report a dead bird, visit www.westnile.ca.gov and fill out the form there, or call 1-877-WNV-BIRD (1-877-968-2473).
This week’s weather forecast calls for high temperatures and possible thunderstorms, which creates perfect conditions for mosquitoes. District officials are reminding residents to do their part in minimizing mosquitoes by dumping out any water that might have collected after the rain.
As of July 11, 2014, the California Department of Public Health reports West Nile virus activity in 537 dead birds, 520 mosquito samples, and nine sentinel chickens from 29 Counties. There have also been nine human cases identified from five Counties.
West Nile virus is transmitted by the bite of an infected mosquito. Although most people that are infected do not show any symptoms, West Nile virus is a potentially debilitating disease. Even ‘mild’ cases of West Nile fever can cause patients enormous pain and discomfort for months.
District officials urge residents to take individual responsibility, and remember the 3 D’s to protect yourself and your family from West Nile virus:
- DRAIN all standing water – Empty out small containers at least once a week, keep pools and spas chlorinated or drained, and repair all water leaks. Conserve water and prevent mosquito breeding.
- DUSK and DAWN – are peak activity times for mosquitoes.
- DEFEND yourself – wear long sleeved shirts and pants and use mosquito repellents containing DEET, Picaridin, Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus, or IR3535 when outdoors during mosquito activity. Always follow instructions on the product label.
Also remember to:
- Check your property for any standing water from sprinklers or thunder showers.
- Turn on fans to keep mosquitoes away.
- Keep tight fitting screens on doors and windows in good repair. Close them to prevent mosquitoes from entering your home.
- Avoid using bug zappers near your patio – they attract more mosquitoes than they kill
- Get free mosquito-eating fish (Gambusia affinis) for fish ponds, pools, and horse troughs.
- Vaccinate your horses properly.
- Report stagnant pools and other backyard sources to the AVMVCD.
- Report dead birds by calling 1-877-WNV-BIRD (877-968-2473) or online at www.westnile.ca.gov.
For further questions or services, contact the Antelope Valley Mosquito & Vector Control District at 661-942-2917 or visit www.avmosquito.org.