A bird in the Pine Valley area has tested positive for the West Nile Virus, County Vector Control announced on Tuesday. The Stellar's jay was tested after it was found dead in the East County community.
County officials said only 16 people statewide have contracted the disease in 2010, none of them in San Diego County. The disease is carried by mosquitoes and is passed on to animals and humans after the infected insects bite them.
Residents should protect themselves from the virus by preventing mosquitoes from breeding in stagnant water close to their homes and to protect themselves from mosquito bites, said Jack Miller, director of the county's department of environmental health.
Puddles, potted plants, rain gutters or anything that can hold stagnant water are breeding grounds for mosquitoes, Miller said. He recommends that residents dump or remove anything in their back yard that can hold water. Mosquito fish can be placed in larger places where water collects, like unused pools, fountains or horse troughs.
Mosquitoes are most active at dawn or dusk; Miller advises people to stay indoors during this time or wear long sleeves and use insect repellents containing DEET, Picaridin, IR3535 or oil of lemon eucalyptus when outdoors.
The county also asks San Diego residents to report dead birds that seem to have died from natural causes. They ask you not to report a bird that has been dead more than 24 hours; has been hit by a car, shot or killed by animals; is covered with ants or flies; has a foul odor; or one withoug an intact body.
To report dead birds or breeding mosquitoes, contact the Vector Control Program at 858-694-2888 or visit the county's West Nile virus Web site.