MORE DEAD BIRDS AND MOSQUITOES are testing positive for West Nile virus from east, west and central Contra Costa County, according to the county’s Mosquito and Vector Control District.

Five more dead birds were collected from Rodeo, Martinez, Concord and two from Brentwood, and two more groups of mosquitoes were trapped in Byron and Martinez, district officials said Aug. 18. 

That brings the total for this year to 10 dead birds and seven groups of mosquitoes with the virus, according to the district.

“As we are seeing the number of WNV-infected dead birds and mosquitoes escalate and the locations become more widespread, it is critically important for Contra Costa County residents to take the necessary precautions to reduce the risk of mosquitoes and mosquito bites,” Steve Schutz, the district’s scientific program manager, said in a statement.

The district recommends residents use an insect repellent that is EPA-registered and includes one of the four most effective active ingredients: DEET, Picaridin, IR3535, or the repellent version of Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus.

Since 2005, 75 people in Contra Costa County have contracted West Nile virus and in 2006, two people died from the disease, according to district officials.

Keith Burbank is currently a fulltime reporter covering Alameda County and Oakland news for Bay City News. He has also worked on the Data Points project for Local News Matters, finding trends and stories about the region through data. In 2019, he was a California Fellow at the USC Annenberg Center for Health Journalism, producing a series about homeless deaths in Santa Clara County. He worked as a swing shift editor for the newswire for several years as well. Outside of journalism, Keith enjoys computer programming, math, economics and music.