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SACRAMENTO – A bird found in El Dorado County has tested positive for the West Nile Virus, according to a release issued Friday morning.

In the release, El Dorado County spokesperson Ross Branch said the County of El Dorado Environmental Management Division of the Community Development Agency and Health and Human Services Agency received confirmation on July 11, that West Nile virus was detected in a Western Scrub Jay found in the El Dorado Hills area

Branch said no humans have been reported as testing positive for West Nile in El Dorado County in 2014.

West Nile virus is transmitted to humans through the bite of an infected mosquito. Mosquitoes pick up the virus when they feed on infected birds. The illness is not spread from person-to-person, Branch said.

Most people infected with West Nile virus show no symptoms. However, some people may experience high fever, severe headache, tiredness and/or a stiff neck which may last several days to several weeks. The most serious cases of West Nile virus infection can lead to encephalitis, an inflammation of the brain, which can be fatal, according to Branch .

Branch said mosquito surveillance programs have been put into place throughout the County, Ross said. Programs include trapping and identifying mosquitoes, treating neglected swimming pools, and reporting and testing dead birds and tree squirrels. In addition, physicians are encouraged to routinely test human cases of viral meningitis and encephalitis for West Nile Virus.

The public is encouraged to assist by reporting and removing sources of standing water in their yards.

The following steps are recommended to reduce the risk of being bitten by mosquitoes:

  • Drain standing water around property and keep water in swimming pools, ponds and troughs circulating or treated with "Mosquito Dunks".
  • Apply insect repellent containing DEET or another approved substance (e.g. picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus or IR 3535) on exposed skin when outdoors among mosquitoes.
  • Mosquitoes are most active at dusk and dawn. While outside among mosquitoes, dress in long sleeves and long pants.
  • Make sure doors and windows have tight fitting screens, kept in good condition.
  • Report dead birds and tree squirrels to the State West Nile Virus hotline at (877) WNV-BIRD (1-877-968-2473) or online at www.westnile.ca.gov. Wear gloves and place dead birds or squirrels in a double plastic bag if disposing of them yourself.

Mosquito problems and neglected swimming pools should be reported to the County of El Dorado Environmental Management Division at (530) 621-5300 in Placerville or (530) 573-3450 in South Lake Tahoe. Additional West Nile virus information is available at www.westnile.ca.gov or www.edcgov.us/emd.

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