Authorities from San Mateo County's mosquito control agency have discovered West Nile virus in the carcass of a dead bird found in Portola Valley, according to a statement released Monday, July 18, by the town.
The bird carcass was found in the vicinity of Alpine and Los Trancos roads, said Megan Caldwell, spokesperson for the San Mateo County Mosquito and Vector Control District.
The district will be setting 20 mosquito traps today (July 19) within a half-mile radius of the spot where the bird was found, and collecting the traps the following day, Ms. Caldwell said.
If the traps contain infected mosquitoes, the district will "act quickly" to reduce the risks to human health, the town statement says.
While West Nile is a disease that primarily affects birds, authorities say that it is potentially dangerous to humans, horses and other animals. Transmission requires a bite from an infected mosquito. It is not contagious.
The mosquito control district asks San Mateo County residents to:
■ Eliminate sources of standing water, including flower pots, old tires, rain gutters and pet bowls. In Portola Valley, while the creeks are no longer flowing, there are ponds of still water in creek beds, Ms. Caldwell said. "That's creating a lot of breeding habitat for mosquitoes, she said.
■ Wear protective clothing when outside at dawn or dusk, and use tight-fitting screens to keep mosquitoes out of the house, advice that is particularly important in a rural community like Portola Valley, Ms. Caldwell said.
■ To keep mosquitoes from biting you, use mosquito repellents with label instructions that say they contain DEET, picaradin, oil of lemon eucalyptus or IR3535.
Click here for more information on West Nile virus.
The district asks residents to report "fresh carcasses" of birds or tree squirrels to the West Nile virus hotline at westnile.ca.gov or by phone at 877-WNV-BIRD (877-968-2473).