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West Nile Was 'Expected' in Santa Cruz County

It was only a matter of time before West Nile Virus showed up locally, officials say.

The appearance of , came as no surprise to the Santa Cruz County Health Services Agency and California Department of Public Health.

With historical data showing similar timing, and appearances in neighboring counties, it was only a matter of time before West Nile showed locally.

An ailing crow was found in Live Oak on July 6 and a dead Great Horned Owl was picked up by a resident in the Summit area three days later, Paul Binding, manager of Santa Cruz County Mosquito and Vector Control told Patch in an email.

In 2011, Binding said there was just one bird found dead of West Nile Virus. Previous years were as follows: 2010 (six), 2009 (one), 2008 (three), 2007 (six), 2006 (seven), 2005 (two), and 2004 (36).

There were 158 human cases and nine deaths in California last year. So far in 2012, there have been five human cases, but none in Santa Cruz County, Binding said. 

Here's what you can do to avoid contracting West Nile Virus:

  • Prevent exposure to mosquitoes.
  • Drain all standing water at least once a week. This includes gutters, plants, buckets, pool and spa covers, bird baths, etc. 
  • Wear long sleeves and pants outside.
  • Avoid the outdoors at dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are rampant.
  • Use mosquito repellent and follow the directions on the repellent container.

Mosquito and Vector Control will also provide free mosquito-eating fish for your yard water features and unmaintained pools. To get the fish, contact Mosquito and Vector Control at 831-454-2590. Report dead birds or squirrels to 1-877-WNV-BIRD.

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