A dead hawk in Spring Valley tested positive for the West Nile virus, marking the first time officials have found the disease in San Diego since the start of the year.
Eleven residents were diagnosed with the disease last year and two local residents died. Only three people have died in San Diego from the disease since it first arrived in San Diego in 2003.
County health officials are reminding residents to protect themselves from the disease, which is transmitted by mosquitoes.
“Everyone should remember to eliminate standing water inside and outside homes where mosquitoes could breed; wear clothing that covers arms and legs or use repellent if you’re outside dusk to dawn; and report dead birds and mosquito breeding areas,” said Elizabeth Pozzebon, director of the County
Department of Environmental Health, in a statement,
In the state, nearly 800 people were diagnosed with the virus in 2014, 29 of which were fatalities, the highest number of deaths in a decade.
West Nile Virus mostly affects birds, though the disease can be transmitted to humans, horses and other animals. Most people exposed to the virus never develop symptoms, but in some cases people may develop flu-like symptoms, become seriously ill and die.