A dead bird in Antioch has tested positive for West Nile virus, Contra Costa Mosquito & Vector Control District officials said Tuesday.
In the first appearance of the mosquito-borne infection in Contra Costa County this year, West Nile virus was found in a bird recovered near Prewett Ranch and Mokelumne drives, according to the district.
"This is not a surprise as we are already seeing virus activity in surrounding counties," Steve Schutz, the district's scientific program manager, said in a statement.
Since 2005, 55 people in Contra Costa County have been diagnosed with West Nile virus. In 2006, two people died from the disease.
People can develop West Nile virus infections through just one mosquito bite. The virus may cause fevers, headaches and body aches, and in some rare cases, neurological damage or death.
The district is advising residents to take preventative measures such as dumping or draining standing water, using repellants and avoiding being outdoors when mosquitoes are present.
The district is also asking people to report the discovery of dead birds by calling 877-968-2473.
"We can only test dead birds if we receive reports from members of the public," Schutz said. "So far this year, we are getting fewer calls than in the past and we definitely could use more."