Three dead birds in the North of Montana neighborhood and two others in the Mid-City area of Santa Monica tested positive for West Nile Virus between Sept. 29 and Oct. 5, the Los Angeles Vector Control has reported.
Five others picked up in the city's limits have previously tested positive, bringing this year's total to 10.
The virus is most often spread by mosquitoes who contract it after feeding on infected birds.
Less than one percent of people infected will develop severe illness. The severe symptoms can include high fever, headache, neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness, vision loss, numbness and paralysis, according to the California Department of Public Health.
West Nile can be fatal, and so far it has been blamed on two deaths in Los Angeles County and 10 in California, according to a recent public health notice published by the local vector control agency and posted on the city's website.
Residents who discover a dead bird should call 1-877-WNV BIRD (1-877-968-2473). Dead birds must be less than 24 hours old to be able to test them for West Nile virus. If the bird is rigid or decomposed, it cannot be used for testing.
Click here to watch a video that explains how to report a dead bird.
From the state Department of Public Health, here are three ways to lower the risk of becoming infected:
- Using a repellent containing the active ingredients DEET, Picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, or IR3535 before going outdoors.
- Dump or drain water that has been standing for more than three days, including neglected swimming pools, birdbaths, pet dishes, tire swings, and flower planters. These items provide a perfect place for mosquitos to lay their eggs, which increases the risk of being infected with WNV.
- Repair broken or torn screens on windows and doors to keep mosquitoes from entering your home.