Santa Cruz County

Dead sparrow found in Soquel tests positive for West Nile Virus

Health officials say it marks first indication of the virus in Santa Cruz County in 2014

West Nile virus found in dead bird in Santa Cruz County

SOQUEL, Calif. - A dead sparrow found in Soquel last month tested positive for West Nile virus, marking the first indication of the virus in Santa Cruz County this year, state health officials said.

That's according to the California Department of Health's latest weekly Arbovirus Surveillance Bulletin, which was released Friday.

The report found that a total of 145 West Nile virus-positive dead birds were reported from 20 different Californian counties, including the one from Santa Cruz County. 

The bulk -- 49 -- were found in Santa Clara County, with Sacramento County coming in close behind with 44 dead, WNV-positive birds found there last week.  The full report is here.

State health officials said it marked the first indication of West Nile virus from Santa Cruz,  El Dorado, Napa, and Ventura counties this year.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, West Nile virus is most commonly transmitted to humans by mosquitoes, and there is is no medication currently available to treat or prevent a West Nile infection. Fortunately, most people infected with West Nile virus will have no symptoms ; about one in five people will deve;op a fever with other symptoms, and less than one percent of infected people develop a serious neurological illness.

Californians are encouraged to report all dead birds online here or by calling toll-free 1-877-WNV-BIRD (968-2473).

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