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First West Nile Positive Bird Found In 2024

May contain: animal, bird, and magpie

First indicator of the virus circulating in Alameda County

HAYWARD,CA January 19, 2024

 The Alameda County Mosquito Abatement District is reporting a dead bird that tested positive for West Nile virus. This is the County's first indication of West Nile virus this year.  The dead bird was collected from Union City and tested at the District laboratory on January 19, 2024.

The District is increasing mosquito monitoring and larval control efforts throughout the area where the West Nile virus positive bird was discovered. Every effort is being made to locate areas of standing water where mosquitoes may breed including but not limited to catchbasins, stormdrain systems, and swimming pools. Neglected swimming pools continue to be a mosquito breeding issue in Alameda County. If you or anyone you know has an unmaintained swimming pool please inform the District so the proper treatment can be made.

“While this early detection of West Nile virus at the start of the year is a surprise, it is not unprecedented” says ACMAD Lab Director Eric Haas-Stapleton PhD. “Our ever-shifting weather patterns of rain and sunshine provide opportunity for mosquitoes to be active throughout the year. Our team will continue to test for mosquitoes in the surrounding area. We appreciate the public’s help in locating dead birds and encourage everyone to contact the California Dead Bird Hotline to report a dead bird, no matter where it is found. Remember to reduce mosquito habitats by dumping or draining any containers that hold water, or reach out to our district if you have standing water in your community.”

Reduce the risk of contracting mosquito-borne diseases by following these guidelines:

* DUMP/DRAIN standing water on your property, since mosquitoes need water to develop.

* DAWN/DUSK is when mosquito activity peaks, so limit outdoor activities during this time.

* DEFEND yourself from mosquito bites by wearing long pants and long-sleeved shirts and apply insect repellent containing EPA-registered active ingredients such as DEET, Picaridin, IR3535, or Oil of lemon eucalyptus.

* DOOR/window screens should be in good repair with no tears or holes.

West Nile virus is transmitted to people and animals through the bite of an infected mosquito. Approximately one in five people who are infected with West Nile virus will develop symptoms such as fever, headache, body aches, joint pains, vomiting, or rash. Less than one percent will develop a serious neurological illness such as encephalitis or meningitis. There is no cure for West Nile virus.  Adults over 50 years old and people with compromised immune systems are at increased risk of serious complications. Anyone who develops symptoms should seek medical care immediately.

Horses are very susceptible to West Nile virus and vaccines are available. Horse owners are advised to contact their veterinarians regarding timely vaccinations.

For information about mosquitoes, West Nile virus, or to request any of the District services visit or call (510) 783-7744. Residents can also request mosquitofish for their fish ponds, horse troughs, or neglected swimming pools at the District office located in Hayward at 23187 Connecticut St. For information concerning West Nile virus symptoms, prevention or testing please contact the Alameda County Public Health Department at (510) 267-8001.