LA MESA, Calif. — County of San Diego health officials announced Thursday that a dead crow found in La Mesa tested positive for West Nile Virus.
The bird, an American crow, is the first dead bird to test positive for the virus in the region, the County said. There have been locally contracted human cases reported so far.
Health officials warned residents to protect themselves from mosquitoes, which can transmit West Nile Virus to humans. It is recommended that you locate and dump out any sitting water around your home, as it can attract mosquitoes.
In 2015, there were 44 cases of West Nile Virus and six deaths reported in the county, officials said.
Health officials recommend that residents follow the County’s “Prevent, Protect, Report” guidelines.
The County recommends that you prevent mosquito breeding by dumping out or removing items inside or outside your home that can hold water. This includes plant saucers, rain gutters, buckets, garbage and recycling bins, old tire, wheelbarrows and more.
You can also get free mosquitofish through the County’s Vector Control program. The fish, which eat mosquito larvae, can be placed in backyard water sources like ponds, fountains, horse troughs or stagnant swimming pools.
You can protect yourself from mosquito bites and mosquito-borne illness by using insect repellents outdoors and wearing long sleeves and pants, officials said. Repellents should contain DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus or IR3535.
Residents can report increased mosquito activity, stagnant swimming pools and other mosquito-breeding sources by calling the Vector Control Program at 858-694-2888 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can find more tips on how to follow the County’s “Prevent, Protect, Report” guidelines on the Fight the Bite website.
While the virus is mainly a bird disease, it can be transmitted to humans from mosquitoes, including the Culex mosquito that is native to San Diego, the County said.
Symptoms of West Nile Virus in humans are typically mild and include headaches, fever, nausea, skin rashes and swollen glands, health officials said. In rare cases the virus can lead to serious illness or death.