By Lookout Staff
September 21, 2012 -- The bodies of three more birds infected with the West Nile virus were found in three separate Santa Monica neighborhoods, bringing the tally of dead birds with the disease found in the city to five since May.
In a health advisory dated September 18, the Los Angeles County West Vector & Vector-Borne Disease Control District said that the most recent three birds were found in the North of Montana, Mid-City and the Ocean Park neighborhoods.
In July, the body of an infected bird was discovered in the area between San Vincent Boulevard, Ocean Avenue and Montana Avenue. The first bird was discovered on May 17.
“Although human cases in Los Angeles County are down from 63 in 2011 to only 25 in 2012, extra care should be taken by all residents to reduce their exposure,” L.A. County officials wrote in the health advisory.
Officials said that residents can protect themselves from WNV by doing the following:
Make sure doors and windows have tight-fitting screens and no holes to keep out mosquitoes.
Eliminate all flowerpots, old car tires, rain gutters, pet bowls and other sources of standing water on your property.
Ensure that swimming pools, spas, and ponds are properly maintained. If you have an ornamental pond, make an arrangement to pick up free mosquito fish at the District by calling 310-915-7370.
“One hundred and ten zip codes out of 361 located in the County of Los Angeles have recorded positive indicators for WNV,” officials said.
Positive indicators include dead birds, dead squirrels, mosquitoes and sentinel chickens flocks -- flocks of chickens specifically used by healthy officials to monitor areas for the disease.
Though the birds infected with the virus died in Santa Monica, that does not mean that they were infected in the city.
According to officials, a bird can make it as far as 10 miles from where it was infected before it dies.
“Nationally, West Nile virus has been found in all 50 states since its introduction into the United States in 1999 and currently there are 2,636 human cases and 118 deaths compared to only 712 case and 43 deaths for the entire 2011 year,” officials said.
Residents can report dead birds by calling 1-877-968-2473.