SLO County West Nile virus infected bird cases on the rise

September 20, 2012

State health officials collected two more birds from San Luis Obispo County that were infected with West Nile Virus making three this year, at a time county officials have discontinued mosquito abatement programs in an attempt to save money.

In August, A hawk infected with West Nile virus was discovered in Paso Robles and another infected bird was been found in the city of San Luis Obispo. On Sept. 10, a wild turkey infected with the virus was found in Atascadero.

There had been 126 cases of the mosquito-borne illness reported in California with six deaths since the first of the year. The state average is less than seven cases a year.

Nationally, human West Nile virus infections and deaths have climbed with 3,142 confirmed cases and 134 deaths, making this the worst outbreak of the mosquito-borne disease to hit the United States, federal health officials reported Wednesday

Mosquitoes feed on infected birds and can then transmit the virus to people and animals. To protect yourself and others from the virus:

Eliminate standing water on your property.

Avoid spending time outside in the morning and the evening.

Wear long sleeve clothing and use insect repellant.

If you spot a dead bird, call the California state dead bird hotline at 877-968-2473.