First bird to test positive for West Nile virus in Santa Cruz County

- A bird that died in Santa Cruz County last week is the first this year to test positive for West Nile virus, county officials reported. 

A resident submitted the dead American Crow to health officials on June 13 after finding it near 30th Avenue between Moran Lake and Pleasure Point, officials said. 

West Nile virus is primarily a bird virus that in humans causes serious illness of the central nervous system in less than 1 percent of cases, according to officials. Mosquitoes spread the infection by biting birds.

Many people infected with the virus experience no symptoms, and others may have fevers or flu-like symptoms. 

Santa Cruz County officials said the results were not a surprise because nearby counties have found birds testing positive for the virus.

Last year, the county only found one dead bird infected with the virus and zero mosquitoes. Numbers have remained low in the past 10 years, but officials found one horse with the virus in 2015 and found a record 36 birds with the virus in 2004.

County health staff will search the surrounding area where the crow died to find mosquito-breeding sites. The resident who located the bird has been notified that it tested positive for the virus, officials said.

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