Posted: May 21, 2008, 11 a.m. EDT
Mosquitos spread West Nile Virus. They breed in open pools of water.
In the first nine days of May, 13 birds were found dead with the West Nile virus in Orange County, Calif., according to the Los Angeles Times. The birds were a black-headed grosbeak, a hermit thrush, nine crows and two house finches. Orange County vector control officials stated that the rise of abandoned homes with swimming pools, due to the mortgage crisis, has provided more breeding areas for mosquitoes. Mosquitoes transmit West Nile virus to people and other animals. As warmer weather approaches, there may be more cases of the disease due to the increase in mosquitoes and mosquito breeding.
Here are five things you should know about the West Nile virus:
If you find a dead bird, check with your locals or state health department to find out how to report it in case it died from the West Nile virus. To dispose of the bird, use gloves or an inside-out plastic bag and put it in a garbage bag and then into your outside garbage can or bin, states the CDC. You can find more information at www.cdc.gov.
To keep yourself and your birds safe, put a screen in all windows and install a screen door to prevent mosquitoes from entering the house. Make sure that there are no areas of stagnant water outside of the house for mosquitoes to breed.
Avoid going outside or taking your bird outside during prime mosquito biting time, which is in the early evening or from dusk to dawn.
Precautions for people include wearing insect repellent and covering exposed areas of skin by wearing long pants and shirts.
Symptoms of West Nile virus include head and body ache, fever, rash and vomiting.