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Sentinel Chickens Test Positive For West Nile Virus

West Nile Virus is active in Shasta County, according to Shasta Mosquito and Vector Control District scientists. The district has several flocks of what they call Sentinel Chickens, which are tested every two weeks. Blood from four Sentinel Chickens east of Redding have recently tested positive for the virus, indicating an increased risk to humans. There have been fewer indicators of West Nile Virus than were found last year, and so far no human cases have been reported this year in Shasta County. The Sentinel Chickens and two dead birds found last month show that precautions may be wise. Statewide there have been 211 human cases this year. About 80 percent of the time infected people experience no symptoms at all, but for one if five cases it can be a potentially deadly attack on the central nervous system. It’s carried most commonly in birds such as Crows, Jays, and Magpies. Humans get infected by mosquitoes that have bitten infected birds. West Nile cannot be transmitted between humans. It’s fatal for about 1 in 3 infected horses,the only species for which there is a vaccine. The best way to fight West Nile is by eliminating standing water where mosquitoes breed. Significant mosquito problems can be reported at shastamosquito.org . Dead birds should be reported to 1-877-WNV-BIRD or westnile.ca.gov.