The Department of Public Health announced today that a crow has tested positive for the West Nile virus. Though the report issued this afternoon did not identify where the bird was found, it did note that so far this year, scientists have tested 10 birds from Santa Barbara County for the disease and this one was the first have been infected.
“This confirms that there is West Nile Virus activity locally, and it is a reminder that we should take steps to avoid mosquito bites,” said S.B. County Public Health Director Dr. Elliot Schulman in the press release. To this end, Public Health is encouraging people to stay indoors during dawn and dusk, when mosquitoes are most active, as mosquitoes bites are the most common way of contracting the disease. Furthermore, people should also wear long pants and long-sleeved shirts when outdoors, apply insect repellent, make sure window screens have no holes and fit snugly, and eliminate any standing water that mosquitoes could use as breeding grounds.
The document also noted that there have been 103 documented cases of West Nile Virus in humans in 2008 throughout California. One resulted in a fatality. The last instance of human infection in Santa Barbara County occurred in 2006.