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West Nile Is Found in 3 More Birds

August 06, 2004|From a Times Staff Writer

Three more dead birds found in Ventura County have tested positive for the West Nile virus, bringing to nine the number of infected birds collected this year, officials said Thursday.

The three birds were found in Ojai, Oxnard and Simi Valley from July 20 to July 26, officials said. Other infected birds have been found in Newbury Park, Ojai, Oxnard and Simi Valley.

As the West Nile virus spreads throughout California, Ventura County health officials said they expect to see an increase in birds that test positive for the virus, which also affects horses. The disease is spread by mosquitoes that feed on infected birds.

So far, no human cases have been reported in Ventura County.

Most people who are bitten don't get the disease, and less than 1% of cases are fatal, officials said. Those who get the disease experience flu-like symptoms, including fever, nausea, headaches and body aches.

About one in 150 infected people contract meningitis or encephalitis, an inflammation of the brain, officials said. Two people in California have died of the virus this year.

The public can minimize exposure to the virus by applying insect repellent with the active ingredient DEET, making sure doors and windows are tightly screened, and eliminating standing water, which attracts mosquitoes, officials said.

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