SANTA CRUZ COUNTY — Santa Cruz County residents should take steps to reduce mosquito populations and avoid being bitten after a bird was discovered with the West Nile Virus, the California Department of Public Health said Friday.
The bird, an American crow, was discovered by a resident in East Santa Cruz near Soquel Avenue and Morrissey Boulevard.
West Nile is primarily a bird virus that can affect humans and other animals and can be spread by the bite of summer mosquitoes.
In humans, symptoms of infection range from no symptoms to fever and flu-like illness to serious illness affecting the central nervous system in less than 1 percent of cases.
Paul Binding, manager of Santa Cruz County Mosquito Abatement/Vector Control, said the timing for finds within the county is typical.
“The find was expected, as there has been WNV activity in nearby counties,” he said.
Last year, California had 442 reported human cases and 19 deaths attributed to West Nile Virus. This year as compared to 2016 California WNV activity looks to be less in most areas of the state in birds and mosquitoes, but with three human cases so far.
No locally acquired human cases have been found in Santa Cruz County this season or in years past.
For information, or to report dead birds, call the state hotline at 877-WNV-BIRD or visit www.westnile.ca.gov. State officials can provide free mosquito-eating fish for yard water features and un-maintained pools. Call 454-2590 for details or visit www.agdept.com/mvc.html.
For information on West Nile virus, visit www.westnile.ca.gov or www.agdept.com/mvc.html.