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California in Brief / LOS ANGELES COUNTY

West Nile found in two dead birds

May 24, 2008|Francisco Vara-Orta

West Nile virus has made its first official appearance in the county this year, as two crows found dead in the last month tested positive for the disease, officials said.

The first dead crow was found in Santa Clarita on April 28 and the second in Woodland Hills on Wednesday, said Truc Dever, a spokesman for the Greater Los Angeles County Vector Control District.

West Nile virus is transmitted to humans and animals through bites from mosquitoes, which become infected when they feed on infected birds. Health officials recommend that residents dump, drain, or clean any stagnant pools of water, which serve as fertile breeding grounds for the insects, around their homes.

According to the state Department of Public Health, there have been no human cases reported this year, but 41 birds in nine California counties had tested positive as of last week. In 2007, 380 human cases were reported, 21 of them fatal. Three people died in L.A. County last year.

County residents can contact the vector control district at (562) 944-9656 to report stagnant water pools, Dever said.

More information on state infection rates is available at www.westnile.ca.gov.

-- Francisco Vara-Orta

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