A dead crow found in Kirkland on Sept. 15 tested positive for West Nile virus, the first one in King County in 2008, according to Public Health Seattle & King County.
The city reminds residents to steps to prevent mosquito bites. The mosquito season is winding down with the cool weather approaches, but contracting West Nile virus is still a possibility.
Protect yourself from mosquito bites
Only nine species of mosquitoes out of more than 50 in Washington have the potential to transmit the West Nile virus and, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control, human illness from the virus is rare, even in areas where the virus has been reported. Even so, avoiding mosquito bites is a safe course of action.
- Reduce the places available for mosquitoes to lay their eggs by eliminating standing water sources from around your home. (Mosquitoes need stagnant water for a minimum of seven days to complete their life cycle.)
- Change the water in your birdbaths, fountains, wading pools and animal troughs once a week.
- Make sure roof gutters drain properly.
- When possible, wear a long-sleeved shirt, long pants and a hat when going into areas where mosquitoes have been observed.
- Consider staying indoors at dawn, dusk and in the early evening, which are peak mosquito biting times.
- Make sure windows and door screens are "bug tight." Repair or replace if needed.
- Consider applying insect repellent containing DEET (N,N-diethyl-meta-toluamide) or Picaridin when you're outdoors, especially at dawn and dusk.
The federal Centers for Disease Control, state Department of Health and Public Health-Seattle & King County are the experts in this area and the sources of information about the virus. For updated recorded information, call the King County West Nile Virus hotline (206-205-3883) or the state hotline (1-866-78VIRUS).
Crows are particularly susceptible to West Nile Virus. If you find a dead crow on your property, call Public Health at 206-205-4394. King County's dead bird reporting web page has details. If you see a heavily infested area of mosquitoes, you can also call Public Health. They are tracking specific locations that seem to be mosquito problem areas.
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