West Nile found in dead crows in Carlsbad and Ramona

In 2012, 5K people in the U.S. fell ill from virus

SAN DIEGO - Two dead American crows, found in Carlsbad and Ramona, have tested positive for the West Nile virus, the San Diego County Department of Environmental Health reported Thursday.

The discovery comes after the first positive West Nile virus find of the year two weeks ago of an American crow in Lakeside, the DEH said.

The agency said the positive tests serve as a reminder that the public should take precautions against West Nile Virus, which can be transmitted to humans by mosquitoes.

The United States was hit hard by West Nile last year, with 5,000 people getting sick, 286 fatally.

San Diego had just one dead bird found with the disease, according to the DEH. The agency said only one person in the region has tested positive for WNV over the past three years and didn't get sick.

"People can protect themselves by taking some simple precautions," said Jack Miller, the department director. "The big things to remember are to use bug sprays to keep mosquitoes away -- wear long sleeves and pants if you're going to be outside at dusk when mosquitoes feed, and make sure your yard isn't a mosquito breeding ground."

Residents should clear standing water on their property and check inside discarded tires, where water can collect. Water can be used as a breeding ground for mosquitoes.

Dead birds, pools of stagnant water and neglected swimming pools should be reported to County Vector Control at (858) 694-2888.

The DEH said eight of 10 people who become infected with West Nile virus will not suffer symptoms.

Most people who do get sick  will suffer mild symptoms, including headache, fever, nausea, fatigue, skin rash or swollen glands.

In rare cases -- typically, the disease is most dangerous to the very young or very old, or those with compromised immune responses -- people can suffer life-threatening neurological complications.

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