Susan Buckley, RN, Director, Public Health
Ira Singh, MPH, Deputy Director
Donald I. Baird, MD, Health Officer

Division of Environmental Health

PRESS RELEASE

Date Released: 10/5/2004
Subject: Four More Birds Test Positive For West Nile Virus In Humboldt
Contact: Brent Whitener, Vector Control Officer, Environmental Health Division
Phone: (707) 445-6215 or (707) 268-2203


Four more birds submitted from the communities of Ferndale, Hoopa, and Weott have tested positive for the presence of the virus that causes West Nile infection. This brings the total to eight positive birds found in the county this year and shows that the virus is now firmly established in the biology of Humboldt County. There have not been any reports of infection involving humans or horses in the county.

West Nile, a disease carried by infected birds and spread by mosquitoes, was first identified in Humboldt in early August with the death of a raven near McKinleyville. Extensive surveillance, ongoing since last year has been monitoring virus activity and mosquito populations. The mosquito season is drawing to a close in Humboldt County, however surveillance efforts including the testing of dead birds will continue in order to better understand the behavior of the virus locally. Residents are encouraged to report any found birds to the California West Nile Virus Hot Line number, toll free, by calling 1-877-WNV-BIRD (1-877-968-2473).

“We can look forward to the virus emerging again next summer, and certainly expect to see signs of the virus by June or July of 2005,” according to Brent Whitener, Vector Control Officer for Humboldt County’s Environmental Health Division. California lead the nation this year with over six hundred human cases and sixteen deaths attributed to the disease. Precautions such as removing possible mosquito breeding sources, limiting activities when and where mosquitoes are active, and use of mosquito repellant to protect family members is encouraged. Public information and outreach sessions about West Nile can be arranged for your school, service club, business, or agency by contacting Brent Whitener, Environmental Health Division, by calling (707) 268-2203, toll free at 1-800-963-9241, or via e-mail brent.whitener@co.humboldt.ca.us.






 

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