Officials report West Nile virus more prevalent than usual among mosquitoes, dead birds

Officials are warning residents in Sacramento and Yolo counties to protect themselves against mosquito bites, citing the unusually large number of mosquito samples and dead birds that have tested positive for West Nile virus this year.

The Sacramento-Yolo Mosquito and Vector Control District announced that it received confirmation Friday that 23 mosquito samples tested positive for West Nile virus in areas throughout the two counties.

“Virus activity is very intense,” Gary Goodman, district manager, said in a written statement. “While we do expect an increase this time of the year, this season we are seeing more mosquito samples and dead birds testing positive than at this same time last year.

Specific areas of concern, where much of the activity is concentrated, include Citrus Heights, Fair Oaks and Davis, according to a district news release.

Goodman said the district is closely monitoring these areas and evaluating the best plan of action. Additional laboratory tests will be available next week.

So far this year in Sacramento County, 120 mosquito samples and 82 dead birds have tested positive for West Nile virus. In Yolo County, 30 mosquito samples and 14 dead birds have tested positive for the virus.

Officials say West Nile virus activity is on the rise statewide this season. To date, nine human cases have been confirmed in five different counties, compared with one human case this time last year. The number of dead birds infected with the virus also has increased significantly this season, with 537 testing positive statewide so far this season, compared with 156 during the same period in 2013.

Residents can subscribe to receive email notifications for mosquito treatments by zip code. To sign up, visit the district’s website, www.FIGHTtheBite.net, and go to “Spray Notifications.”