Two dead birds found in San Mateo have tested positive for West Nile virus, the San Mateo County Mosquito and Vector Control District announced Tuesday.
A Scrub Jay was reported Thursday in the Hillsdale area east of Alameda De Las Pulgas and an American Crow was reported Sunday in the Hayward park area, San Mateo County Mosquito and Vector Control District Vector Ecologist Theresa Shelton said.
They are the county's first cases of West Nile virus this year, according to the district.
As of Friday, 20 cases of West Nile virus have been found in seven counties statewide, which includes one human case in Sacramento County, according to the California Department of Public Health.
The San Mateo County Mosquito and Vector Control District reported five positive cases of West Nile virus found in birds last year.
Infected mosquitoes transmit the virus to birds, humans, horses, squirrels and other animals, but it cannot spread from person to person. "The presence of two West Nile-positive birds early in the season is an important reminder that residents should protect themselves from mosquito bites," said Theresa Shelton, a vector ecologist for the district. "West Nile virus activity is likely to increase as we head into the summer months."
The district will be putting out mosquito traps in the neighborhoods and testing mosquitoes for West Nile virus in the coming weeks, she said.
To prevent mosquito breeding people are advised to drain standing water in flower pots, rain gutters, pet bowls and others places where mosquitoes tend to lay their eggs.
Anyone who finds bird or tree squirrel carcasses are advised to report them to the West Nile virus hotline at (877) 968-2473 or online at www.westnile.ca.gov.
For information on keeping mosquitoes at bay where you live, call 344-8592 or go to www.smcmad.org