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Dead birds test positive for West Nile virus in Santa Monica

August 23, 2012 |  1:54 pm

Los Angeles County health officials have issued a warning to Santa Monica residents after discovering  two dead birds that tested positive for West Nile virus.

A total of 56 dead birds infected with West Nile virus have been found in various parts of Los Angeles County.

West Nile virus is transmitted to humans by mosquitoes that have bitten infected birds. About 20% of people feel minor symptoms, which may include fever, aches and chills, with most never feeling any effects at all, officials said.

The first human case of West Nile Virus in Los Angeles County this year was reported last month in the San Gabriel Valley.

"We're having a relatively light season for West Nile," said Jonathan Fielding, director of public health for Los Angeles County. "At this point, [we have] five reported cases compared to 63 last year."

The cause of the drop in reported infections is unknown, Fielding said.

Health officials suggest people take precautions by eliminating sources of stagnant water that may be breeding grounds for mosquitos, using insect repellent and wearing long sleeves and pants.

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-- Melissa Leu

Follow Melissa Leu on Twitter and Google+.

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