CITYWIDE — Three more dead birds found in Santa Monica tested positive for the potentially-deadly West Nile Virus, according to a release by Los Angeles County officials.
The birds were picked up in the 90402, 90404 and 90405 area codes, and bring the total number of infected dead birds to five.
Birds, particularly the American crow, carry the disease which then spreads to mosquitoes that feed off of them. People can be infected when bitten by those mosquitoes.
The sickness causes symptoms in roughly 20 percent of the people who become infected. Those usually include fever, headache and body aches that last for a few days.
In less than 1 percent of cases, high fever, stupor coma, convulsions paralysis and/or death can occur.
The elderly are particularly vulnerable.
It’s been a bad year for the virus, which was originally introduced to the United States in 1999.
Approximately 2,636 people have been infected and 118 have died in 2012 compared to 712 cases and 43 deaths for all of 2011.
People can prevent infection by minimizing their contact with mosquitoes. Experts warn people to avoid going out at dawn and dusk, when mosquitoes are most active, to get rid of any standing pools of water around their home and to use repellents like DEET.