The death of a crow in south Sacramento has signaled the return of the West Nile virus in the region.
“This is the first bird to test positive and the first sign of West Nile virus in the Sacramento region for the 2014 season,” said Luz Maria Rodriguez, spokeswoman for the Sacramento Yolo Mosquito and Vector Control District.
The district received confirmation Monday that a crow collected from south Sacramento had the West Nile virus. In response, the district will increase mosquito trapping and surveillance in the area to find places where mosquitoes may be breeding.
The district did not indicate exactly when and where the dead bird was found. While this is the first case reported in Sacramento County, other counties in the state have reported activity earlier this year. So far this season, Yolo County does not have any cases.
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The West Nile virus is the leading cause of encephalitis in the United States and is transmitted to animals and humans via infected mosquitoes. Mosquitoes get infected when they feed on birds carrying the virus.
Last year, 15 deaths and 379 human cases of West Nile virus were reported in California.
The district is encouraging the public to report dead birds by calling the California Department of Public Health hotline at 877-WNV-BIRD (877-968-2473) or go online at www.westnile.ca.gov.
To report neglected swimming pools or other mosquito breeding areas, call 1-800-429-1022 or fill out a service request online at www.FIGHTtheBITE.net. Residents can also receive e-mail notifications of mosquito abatement efforts by zip code. Sign up by going on the website and click on Spray Notifications .