LIVE OAK — A dead bird found in Santa Cruz County tested positive for West Nile Virus, county health officials said Friday.
The California Department of Public Health West Nile Virus Program notified the County of Santa Cruz on Thursday of this summer’s first find of a WNV-positive dead bird in the county.
The bird, an American Crow with an acute infection, was submitted by the Santa Cruz County Health Services Agency on June 13 and obtained from a resident in Live Oak near 30th Avenue between Moran Lake and Pleasure Point.
WNV 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 one percent of cases.
According to county health officials, the timing has been a bit earlier for finds within the county compared with previous years. In 2017, one bird tested positive with the virus.
Last year, California had 536 reported human cases and 41 deaths attributed to West Nile Virus. No human cases have been found in the county this season or in years past, according to county health officials.
The public is asked to protect themselves from mosquito bites and to drain any standing water around their homes and report mosquito biting and standing water or green swimming pools in their neighborhood. The public is also encouraged to report dead birds to the state hotline at 1-877-WNV-BIRD or online at www.westnile.ca.gov