RIALTO, Calif. - Sentinel chicken flocks were placed in various locations throughout San Bernardino County to detect West Nile Virus.
The Division of Environmental Health Service's Mosquito and Vector Control Program (MVCP) is reporting a chicken from a flock in Rialto has tested positive for the virus on Monday.
Officials said this means it's more than likely that the mosquito population in the area is infected, increasing the possible risk of the public being infected.
According to a release from MVCP, chickens are not harmed by West Nile Virus and this is the first chicken to test positive for West Nile Virus within the area served by the division's MVCP in 2014.
Officials are taking steps to eliminate mosquito breeding hazards in the area.
Symptoms of West Nile Virus can include:
- Body aches
- Skin rash
If you've been bitten by a mosquito and are experiencing any of those symptoms, call your doctor's office.
Ways to protect yourself from West Nile Virus:
- Drain or Dump - Remove all standing water around your property where mosquitoes can lay eggs such as birdbaths, green swimming pools, ponds, old tires, buckets, flower pots, clogged gutters, or even puddles from leaky sprinklers.
- Dawn and Dusk - Avoid spending time outside when mosquitoes are most active.
- Dress - Wear shoes, socks, and long pants and long-sleeved shirts that are loose-fitting and light colored.
- DEET - Apply insect repellent containing DEET.
- Doors - Make sure doors and windows have tight-fitting screens. Repair or replace screens that have tears or holes to prevent mosquitoes from entering your home.
Officials said dead birds are another sign that West Nile Virus may be present in the area. If you see a dead bird, submit an online report at westnile.ca.gov.
So far in 2014, there has only been three human cases of West Nile Virus reported in California.