CONCORD -- Two people from eastern Contra Costa County have tested positive for West Nile virus, the Contra Costa Mosquito & Vector Control District announced Friday.
The two people infected, both adults, were most likely bitten in late September by virus-carrying mosquitoes, said district spokeswoman Deborah Bass. Officials did not release the patients' city of residence or their conditions.
So far, a total of five adults have tested positive for the virus this year, but the other three that tested positive for the virus were infected somewhere outside of Contra Costa County, Bass added.
In addition to the two adults that were infected, a dead American crow found in Alamo recently tested positive for the virus. The bird was found near Golden Grass Drive and Stone Valley Road. A total of 68 dead birds and seven chickens have tested positive for the virus this year.
According to a release from the district, birds are the reservoir for West Nile virus. The two species of mosquitoes in Contra Costa County capable of transmitting the virus prefer to feed on birds; however, people can become infected when a mosquito bites an infected bird and then a person.
Symptoms for West Nile virus include fever, headache, tiredness, body aches, and swollen lymph glands. While the illness can last only a few days, healthy people have reported being sick for several weeks. In severe cases, West Nile virus can be fatal.
In order to reduce the risk of contracting the virus, the district has advised county residents to dump or drain standing water, use repellents containing DEET, Picaridin, or Lemon Eucalyptus oil and avoid being outdoors when mosquitoes are present -- typically dawn and dusk.
Residents should report neglected swimming pools by calling 925-771-6195 or visiting www.ContraCostaMosquito.com.