County of Santa Cruz


February 25, 2005



First Report in 2005

West Nile Virus (WNV) has been detected in a bird from Santa Cruz County





        The dead bird was picked up to the west of Pinto Lake.

        Positive birds have now been found in several counties in CA in 2005. Detection of the virus in our county means that it is not too early to take precautions to protect yourself from WNV.

        While the dead bird was found in South County, it is likely that WNV is present in birds throughout the county.

        WNV is transmitted to humans and animals by mosquitoes and is not transmitted by casual person-to-person contact. Rarely, it has been transmitted via blood transfusions or organ transplants. Blood and organ bank procedures now screen for WNV.




        Mosquito and Vector Control technicians will be setting mosquito traps in the area near Pinto Lake to determine the abundance and species of mosquitoes that are now active.

        Mosquito and Vector control will respond to mosquito activity by eliminating mosquito larvae where they breed.




        The best way to protect yourself from WNV is to prevent exposure to mosquitoes.

        Drain all standing water around your home at least once a week to prevent mosquitoes from breeding. Dress in long sleeves and long pants when outdoors. Use mosquito repellent that contains DEET on exposed skin when outdoors.

        There is a safe and effective vaccine for horses. Horse owners should vaccinate their horses now.

        Residents are urged to report dead birds by calling 1-877-WNV-BIRD (1-877-968-2473) or report online at



Health Alert: conveys the highest level of importance; warrants immediate action or attention.

Health Advisory: provides important information for a specific incident or situation; may not require immediate action.

Health Update: provides updated information regarding an incident or situation; unlikely to require immediate action.