EAST BAY -- As West Nile virus continues its unprecedented spread across the U.S. this summer, several East Bay cities are reporting for the first time this year finding dead birds carrying the virus.
Birds can serve as an early warning sign of West Nile spread, as they tend to give it to mosquitoes that in turn infect humans. The latest discoveries of dead birds found carrying West Nile were reported this week in Fremont, Newark, Concord, Clayton and Discovery Bay. No mosquitoes carrying the virus had been reported in those areas as of Thursday.
Earlier in the summer, birds and mosquitoes carrying the virus were also found in Walnut Creek, Brentwood, El Sobrante, Antioch, Knightsen, Pleasant Hill, Martinez, Oakley, Livermore and Castro Valley.
The Contra Costa Mosquito and Vector Control District has planned fogging parts of Brentwood on Thursday night, with a mosquito pesticide deemed safe for humans. No other foggings are currently scheduled.
The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports there are already more cases of West Nile in the U.S. than in any year since the virus was discovered in 1999.
Authorities are urging residents across the Bay Area to be especially cautious for the next month at least, especially during the peak mosquito biting hours around dawn and dusk. In most cases applying mosquito repellent is a suitable precaution, mosquito control authorities said.
One or two bites aren't
To help prevent the virus' spread, residents can reduce mosquito populations by draining any standing water on their property. Anyone who knows of an abandoned swimming pool or other body of water they cannot drain themselves can report it by calling 925-771-6196 in Contra Costa County and 510-783-7744 in Alameda County.
Contact Sean Maher at 925-943-8013. Follow him at Twitter.com/OneSeanMaher.