2 dead birds infected with West Nile virus found in Huntington Beach

The Orange County Mosquito and Vector Control District regularly tests dead birds, such as this one, to see if they are infected with West Nile virus.
(Courtesy of Orange County Mosquito and Vector Control District)

Two dead birds that tested positive for West Nile virus were recently found in Huntington Beach, but there have been no confirmed human cases in the county so far this year, according to the Orange County Mosquito and Vector Control District.

The infected American crows were found in June — one in the area of McFadden Avenue and Bolsa Chica Street and the other near Huntington Beach High School — according to vector control spokeswoman Lora Young.

A total of nine infected birds, including Huntington’s, have been found in the county so far this year. The others were in Cypress, Buena Park and Tustin.

Vector control also collected its first mosquito sample that tested positive for West Nile this year at El Camino Real Park in the city of Orange on July 30. Mosquitoes collected in other area cities haven’t tested positive for the virus, Young said.

The West Nile virus, which was introduced to California in 2003, is commonly transmitted to mosquitoes when they feed on infected birds. The insects can then spread the disease to humans by biting them.

“The increased temperatures and humidity creates an ideal environment for mosquitoes to breed,” Young said in a statement. “It is critical that residents take the necessary steps to eliminate potential mosquito breeding sources and prevent mosquito bites.”

Young said residents should report dead birds to vector control, apply repellent to exposed skin, drain water from containers and clean pet water bowls weekly to limit areas where mosquitoes can breed.

According to the California Department of Public Health, West Nile has infected more than 6,500 people and caused 292 deaths statewide since 2003.

To report an unusual number of mosquitoes in your area, call (714) 971-2421 or (949) 654-2421.