Dead Bird is the First Sign of West Nile Virus Activity in 2012


February 14, 2012


Elk Grove, Calif.— The Sacramento-Yolo Mosquito and Vector Control District received confirmation today that a house finch has tested positive for West Nile virus in Sacramento County. This is the first bird to test positive in the entire state and the first sign ofWest Nilevirus activity in the area for the 2012 season.  “Finding the first positive bird is significant because it means that the virus is present in our area” saidDavid Brown, District Manager.  “With the very mild winter and the warm temperatures we’ve had so far, it’s not unusual to find a positive bird so early” added Brown. 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, 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 2011, 8 deaths and 155 human WNV cases were reported inCalifornia.

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