Fight the bite

West Nile virus detected in Butte County

West Nile virus has hit Butte County’s avian population, prompting health officials and the Mosquito and Vector Control District to encourage residents to protect themselves and their livestock.

District officials recently reported that three dead birds tested positive for the virus. The detection makes Butte one of 25 California counties with signs of the mosquito-borne illness this season, which generally lasts from May to October.

While anyone can contract West Nile, the elderly, young people and those with compromised immune systems are most susceptible. Horse populations are especially vulnerable and should be vaccinated yearly.

Dr. Mark Lundberg of the Butte County Department of Public Health advised all residents to wear insect repellents and to limit exposure to mosquitoes. He also asked that citizens aid the state’s monitoring program ( by reporting any dead birds or squirrels.

District Manager Matt Ball echoed Lundberg, adding a request that residents scour their properties for mosquito-breeding standing water.