California officials test Tahoe birds
SOUTH LAKE TAHOE – While El Dorado County health officials are awaiting tests results to determine whether two dead birds found last week are West Nile virus carriers, two more dead birds were sent to a University of California, Davis laboratory on Monday.
All four Steller’s jays were found at Lake Tahoe’s South Shore.
“People have become more cognizant about what to look for,” said Ginger Huber, Tahoe division manager for El Dorado County Environmental Management Department.
With the number of human West Nile virus cases in California has risen to 42, and confirmed cases in birds in Carson City and Lyon County, health officials like Huber said the best measure against its spread is to be proactive.
The mosquito vector program at the lake is nearly complete for the season with a number of problem areas identified and sprayed to stop eggs from hatching. New problem areas, however, continue to be manmade sources such as detention basins. Also, mosquitoes have hatched in some flooded areas around Trout Creek, Huber said.
“Our program consists of documented sources or areas where we know mosquitoes breed, and we treat those sources,” Huber said. “We can’t eliminate the mosquitoes, but we can reduce their numbers.”
Nearby Alpine County, lacks a mosquito vector program. Instead, the health department of the county with a population of just 1,210 people has increased public information efforts with posters and fliers around the community and in campgrounds advising people of the potential threat.
“It is coming our way, and we know it is going to be here, so right now we are getting the word out as much as possible,” said Dr. Janice Levesque, Alpine County’s Health Department director.