Contra Costa Mosquito & Vector Control

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE     -     April 25, 2014

Contact: Deborah Bass
              Public Affairs Mgr.

(925) 771-6112 - office
(925) 260-4670 - mobile 

For human cases, please contact Contra Costa Health Services at 888-959-9911


Alamo first in county to detect virus activity- during West Nile virus and Mosquito Control Awareness Week


CONCORD, CALIFORNIA - - California West Nile virus and Mosquito Control Awareness Week is highlighted in Contra Costa County by the first dead bird tested of the season that also tested positive for the virus.


The Contra Costa Mosquito & Vector Control District is reporting an America crow found near Danville Boulevard and Camille Avenue in Alamo tested positive for West Nile virus.


"This bird is one of the earliest signs of West Nile virus we've had in a season in the county to date," said the District's Scientific Program Manager Steve Schutz, Ph.D. "Unfortunately, the earlier West Nile virus is detected, the earlier we may see human cases."


According to Schutz, it's "no big surprise" that the virus is already here. Signs of an early season include an unusually warm winter that allowed mosquitoes to thrive. They are out early this year and District mosquito inspectors are already treating mosquitoes sources-- a month earlier than usual. To hone in on where to concentrate their control efforts, the District needs the public's assistance. 


"The public's dead bird reports to the state hotline are crucial for us to understand where to concentrate our mosquito control efforts and to reduce the risk of West Nile virus transmission," said Schutz.


Birds are the reservoir for West Nile virus. The two species of mosquitoes in Contra Costa County capable of transmitting the virus prefer to feed on birds; however, people can become infected when a mosquito bites an infected bird and then a person. West Nile virus symptoms of the mild form include fever, headache, tiredness, body aches, and swollen lymph glands. While the illness can last only a few days, even healthy people have reported being sick for several weeks. West Nile virus of the severe form can be fatal.   


Residents are urged to help reduce their risk of contracting mosquito-borne diseases by following these guidelines: 

  • Report dead birds to the state hotline 1-877-WNV-BIRD (1-877-968-2473) or
  • Dump or drain standing water. Mosquitoes can't begin their life without water.
  • Defend against mosquito bites by using repellents containing DEET, Picaridin, or Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus.
  • Avoid being outdoors when mosquitoes are present, typically dawn and dusk.
  • Report neglected swimming pools by calling 925-771-6195 or visiting  Anonymous calls accepted. Just one neglected pool can produce more than 1 million mosquitoes and affect people up to five miles away. 

Since 2005, 49 people in Contra Costa County have been diagnosed with West Nile virus. In 2006, two people died from the disease. Recent studies have shown that the majority of cases are not diagnosed and grossly under reported. 


Visit the District's website or click on these links for current West Nile virus activity or to  receive automatic emails for when the District fogs for adult mosquitoes.


Contra Costa Mosquito & Vector Control District, an independent special district and public health agency, is located at 155 Mason Circle in Concord. Call the District to report mosquito problems at (925) 771-6195 or visit their office between 8:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. to get FREE mosquitofish for ornamental ponds, horse troughs or neglected swimming pools.    

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