Four more dead birds have tested positive for West Nile virus, including three in Sonoma County and one in Novato, the Marin/Sonoma Mosquito & Vector Control District has announced.
In Petaluma, dead birds testing positive for the virus have been found in the Oak Hill neighborhood area off Howard Street, on 12th Street and on Tomales-Petaluma Road, according to district spokeswoman Nizza Sequiera. Altogether, 10 birds testing positive for the virus have been found this summer.
Two dead birds were found in Santa Rosa and classified as positive-recent, meaning they had been infected this season.
Positive-recent birds pose an increased transmission risk from mosquitoes to humans, according to Piper Kimball, a scientific programs director at the district.
West Nile virus symptoms may include headache, fever, body aches, vomiting, nausea, swollen lymph glands, and skin rash on the chest, stomach and back.
Approximately 80 percent of people who become infected with West Nile virus will not show any symptoms, although some 20 percent will develop West Nile fever.
Of those, less than 1 percent may develop a more severe form of illness with symptoms such as high fever, headache, neck stiffness, disorientation, coma, paralysis and in extreme cases death. While there is no cure for West Nile virus, it is preventable.
Residents can help reduce the threat by eliminating unnecessary standing water in discarded tires, buckets, kiddie pools and stock backyard ponds or other permanent water features with mosquitofish. The fish are free and can be delivered or simply picked up at the District office.
Residents are encouraged to report mosquito problems, neglected swimming pools or dead birds to the West Nile virus hotline at 1-877-968-2473 or online at www.westnile.ca.gov.