Dead bird tests positive for West Nile virus


March 9, 2011


–First Warning Sign for 2011

Elk Grove, Calif.— The Sacramento-Yolo Mosquito and Vector Control District (District) received confirmation today from the California Department of Public Health that an American Crow has tested positive for West Nile virus in Sacramento County. The bird, which was found in the Elk Grove area, is the first bird to test positive in the entire state and the first sign of WNV activity for 2011 in the Sacramento Valley. “Finding this bird is significant because it means that the virus is present in our area” said David Brown, District Manager.  “Dead birds provide an early indication of where positive mosquito samples may also be found and where human cases may develop later in the season.”

The public is encouraged to report dead birds by calling the California Department of Public Health hotline at 877-WNV-BIRD (877-968-2473).  Some species of birds such as crows, jays and magpies are very susceptible to the virus and are more likely to die from the infection. Though not all birds that are reported will be picked up and tested, the reports provide valuable information and assist with mosquito surveillance and control efforts that help protect public health. Birds are hosts for WNV and mosquitoes transmit the virus by biting an infected bird and then biting a person or other animal.

With recent wet weather in the area and warmer temperatures expected, the District also reminds the public to drain after the rain. “Please look around your yard and dump out water in any containers that might breed mosquitoes. It only takes a few minutes, but it goes a long way in preventing mosquitoes later in the season” said Brown.

In 2010, 4 deaths and 110 human WNV cases were reported in California.

To report a neglected swimming pool or other mosquito breeding problems, please call 1-800-429-1022 or fill out a service request online at

Contact: Luz Maria Rodriguez, Public Information Officer

Office: 916.405.2082 | Cell: 916.416.6337


Practice the District D’s of Mosquito Prevention:

DRAIN standing water that may produce mosquitoes.

DAWN and DUSK are times to avoid being outdoors.

DRESS appropriately be wearing long sleeves and pants when outside.

DEFEND yourself by using an effective insect repellent.  Make sure to follow label directions!

DOOR and window screens should be in good working condition.

DISTRICT personnel are also available to address any mosquito problems. Call them at 1-800-429-1022 or visit