|Dead barn owl in Cotati tests positive for West Nile virus
A barn owl found near Scriver Court in Cotati was one of three dead birds in Sonoma County to have tested positive this week for West Nile virus, according to the Marin/Sonoma Mosquito and Vector Control District.
The other two birds, both American crows, were collected from Santa Rosa, one near Midway Drive and the other in the vicinity of Aptos Court.
“The virus is here, it is endemic to the area, and it takes only one bite from an infected mosquito to contract West Nile virus,” stated Nizza Sequeira, public relations director for the Marin/Sonoma Mosquito and Vector Control District.
Although Sonoma and Marin counties have had a lower rate of West Nile Virus activity than other counties in California, their residences are still at risk.
“Most people associate being bitten by mosquitoes with camping or other outdoor recreational activities, however you could be bitten by a mosquito anywhere, even in your own backyard,” stated Sequeira.
Residents are encouraged to take personal protection measures seriously and to apply certain measures when engaging in all outdoor activities. Also, residents should perform a weekly check around their property and remove standing water.
The following are suggestions from the district to protect against West Nile virus.
• Reduce outdoor exposure to mosquitoes: Limit outdoor activities during peak mosquito activity (dawn and dusk). Properly use mosquito repellents containing DEET, picaridin, IR3535 or oil of lemon eucalyptus (always read the label carefully). Also, wear protective clothing such as long sleeves and long pants.
• Reduce indoor exposure to mosquitoes: Keep doors and windows closed whenever possible and check and maintain all window and door screens.
• Prevent mosquitoes from breeding near your home: Flip, dump or drain all temporary sources of standing water. Check septic tank lids to ensure a tight seal and repair any visible cracks. Screen septic tank vent pipes using a fine mesh screen. Eliminate standing water in rain barrels, old tires, buckets, kiddie pools or any other item that can hold water for more than a week. Stock backyard ponds or other permanent water features with mosquito fish. The fish are free and can be delivered or simply picked up at the district office. Call Marin/Sonoma Mosquito and Vector Control District for mosquito-related problems that cannot resolved without a professional.
• Report dead birds: Reporting dead birds can help the district detect West Nile virus activity. Residents who find dead birds are encouraged to report them to the West Nile virus hotline at 1-877-WNV-BIRD or online at www.westnile.ca.gov.
• Stay informed: Residents interested in staying informed about district activities are encouraged to follow MSMVCD on Twitter or Facebook.