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Record-Breaking 62 Birds Test Positive for West Nile Virus

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August 5, 2008

Two more batches of mosquitoes collected in Kearny Mesa and along the San Dieguito River near El Camino Real in the city of San Diego have tested positive for West Nile virus, according to County Vector Control officials.

Additionally, another record-breaking 62 dead birds, including 53 American crows, five Western scrub jays, two Cooper’s hawks, one least tern and one cliff swallow tested positive for the virus. The birds were found in Alpine, Camp Pendleton, Carlsbad, Carmel Valley, Clairemont, Del Cerro, Del Mar, Del Mar Heights, El Cajon, Encinitas, Escondido, Fallbrook, Imperial Beach, Julian, Kensington, Lakeside, Mira Mesa, Oceanside, Poway, Ramona, Rancho Bernardo, San Marcos, Santee, Scripps Ranch, Serra Mesa, Tierrasanta, University City, Valley Center and Vista.

This brings this year’s totals to 216 dead birds, eight sentinel chickens, seven mosquito pools, one horse and three humans.

“The dead bird counts have risen significantly this week, and we still have not hit the peak of West Nile virus season,” said Gary Erbeck, Director of the County Department of Environmental Health.

“Last year we had a total of 118 dead birds for the entire year. Residents should pay attention and take our warnings seriously.”

Residents should protect themselves by removing standing water from around their homes to prevent mosquito breeding.

Make sure that window and door screens are kept closed and in good condition.

When outdoors, during dawn and dusk hours, use EPA registered, CDC recommended insect-approved repellents containing DEET, Picaridin, Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus or IR 3535. More information regarding repellents. Unapproved repellents may not be effective.

The County’s West Nile virus Web site, has a mosquito prevention checklist that includes the most common backyard mosquito breeding sources from birdbaths to wheelbarrows. Residents should check their property weekly to ensure that standing water is not a breeding source for mosquitoes.

For information on WNV, or to report neglected swimming pools and mosquito breeding sites, please call County Vector Control at (888) 551-INFO (4636).