Seven more birds found dead in Carson City have tested positive for the presence of the virus that causes West Nile fever.
The Nevada State Animal Disease and Food Safety Laboratory confirmed the presence of the virus in three Western scrub jays, three American crows and one magpie. This brings the total to eight birds found in the city this year and shows the virus is firmly established in the local biology.
"The birds have been found in every section of Carson City," said spokesman Paul Dalka.
Statewide, 16 cases of West Nile fever have been confirmed. Lyon, Humboldt, Churchill and Clark counties each have reported three cases; Washoe, Lincoln, Douglas and Nye counties each report one. Last year there were 48 reported human cases of West Nile fever in Nevada.
There have not been any reports of infection involving humans in Carson City, though a 33-year-old Dayton man was diagnosed with West Nile meningitis, an inflammation of the membrane around the brain and spinal cord and a more severe form of West Nile virus.
West Nile fever, a disease carried by infected birds and spread by mosquitoes, was first identified in Carson City in July 2004 and again in early August 2005 with the death of a Western scrub jay. Extensive surveillance is ongoing which has been monitoring virus activity and mosquito populations.
The mosquito season is drawing to a close in Carson City; however, in order to better understand the behavior of the virus locally and to control disease bearing mosquitoes, the Carson City Environmental Health Department will continue with surveillance and control efforts, including the testing of dead birds. Residents are encouraged to report found birds or mosquito activity to the Carson City Environmental Health Department.
Dalka said the threat usually ends in October.
"Traditionally it's tied to weather conditions and day length, but in the past it is my understanding that treatment has not been necessary beyond the first part of October," he said. "We are continuing with surveillance efforts and continuing to collect birds until we can find evidence that the activity has been minimized."
Precautions such as removing possible mosquito breeding sources, limiting activities when and where mosquitoes are active, and the use of mosquito repellent to protect family members is encouraged. Questions about West Nile virus and mosquitoes may be directed to the Carson City Environmental Health department at 887-2190.
Where to call
To report a dead bird, call the Carson City Environmental Health Department at 887-2190.