HHSA & Environmental Management

Carla Hass

(530) 621-4609

(PLACERVILLE, CA) – El Dorado County health officials received confirmation today that a bird found in the El Dorado Hills area of El Dorado County has tested positive for West Nile virus, the second for 2018. The bird, an unknown songbird, was collected on June 13th. So far this year, West Nile virus activity in dead birds (22) has been reported in 8 California counties - El Dorado (2), San Mateo (2), Alameda (4), Humboldt (1), Los Angeles (1), Sacramento (6), Stanislaus (1) and Santa Clara (5).

Confirmation of the West Nile virus positive bird means the virus is circulating between birds and mosquitoes and there is heightened risk of infection in humans. It’s important to take precautions. Last year, 510 birds tested positive for West Nile virus in the State and only two (2) West Nile virus positive birds were identified in El Dorado County (Garden Valley and South Lake Tahoe). No human cases of West Nile virus have been reported for El Dorado County so far in 2018.

West Nile virus can be transmitted to people through the bite of an infected mosquito. Mosquitoes get the virus when they feed on infected birds. The illness is not spread from person-to-person. While most people infected with the virus show no symptoms, some may have high fever, severe headache, tiredness and/or a stiff neck that can last several days to several weeks. The most serious cases of West Nile virus infection can lead to encephalitis, an inflammation of the brain, which can be fatal.

Mosquito surveillance programs are in place throughout the County. Activities include trapping and identifying mosquitoes, treating neglected swimming pools, and reporting and testing dead birds.

The El Dorado County Public Health Division conducts human surveillance activities and health care providers are asked to routinely test human cases of viral meningitis and encephalitis for West Nile virus. Press releases are issued for the 1st detection of West Nile activity on the western slope of El Dorado County and South Lake Tahoe area and are a reminder for all residents to follow the following tips are given to help prevent West Nile virus:

  • Drain standing water around the property and keep water in swimming pools, ponds and water troughs circulating or treated with "Mosquito Dunks" or mosquito fish.
  • Apply insect repellent that contains DEET or another approved substance (e.g. picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus or IR 3535) on exposed skin when outdoors.
  • Dress in long sleeves and pants when outdoors among mosquitoes. Mosquitoes are most active at dusk and dawn.
  • Make sure doors and windows have tight fitting screens, kept in good condition.
  • Report dead birds and tree squirrels to the State West Nile Virus hotline at (877) WNV-BIRD (877-968-2473) or online at Wear gloves and place the dead bird or squirrel in a double plastic bag if you dispose of it yourself.

Mosquito problems and neglected swimming pools should be reported to the Environmental Management Division at (530) 621-5300 on the West Slope or (530) 573-3450 in South Lake Tahoe. Additional West Nile virus information can be found at or

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