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Dead Bird Count Continues to Rise

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August 12,2008

West Nile virus continues its spread in San Diego County, and in the past week, 35 dead birds have tested positive for the disease, according to County Vector Control officials.

Among the latest dead birds were 31 American crows, two Western scrub jays, and two red-shouldered hawks. The birds were found in Alpine, Boulevard, Carlsbad, Carmel Valley, Del Mar, Del Mar Heights, Encinitas, Escondido, Oceanside, Ramona, Santee, Scripps Ranch, Solana Beach and Vista.

This week’s count brings the year’s total to 251 dead birds. Eight sentinel chickens, seven mosquito pools, one horse and three humans also have been infected.

“Vector Control is working hard to suppress the mosquito population in the county, but we also need residents to look around their own yards for mosquito breeding spots,” said Gary Erbeck, Director of the County Department of Environmental Health.

“This disease is not something to be taken lightly. Take those few extra steps to protect yourself and your family,” Erbeck said.

Residents should protect themselves by removing standing water from around their homes to prevent mosquito breeding and checking common breeding sources, including birdbaths and wheelbarrows, once a week.

A complete checklist can be found on the County’s West Nile virus Web site:

Mosquitoes only need half an inch of water to lay their eggs. Window and door screens should be kept closed and in good condition.

When spending time outdoors during dawn and dusk hours, use EPA-registered, CDC-recommended insect repellents containing DEET, Picaridin, Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus or IR 3535. More information regarding repellents.

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