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West Nile virus warning issued for Santa Monica, CA

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Discovery of the West Nile virus in the remains of two birds within three months has prompted Los Angeles County health authorities to issue a warning to those who reside in Santa Monica, a primary tourist attraction.

The main route of human infection is through the bite of an infected mosquito that has fed from a bird contaminated with the West Nile virus.

Symptoms, if any, may include fever and headache.

Studies have shown that less than one percent of humans infected developed encephalitis or meningitis (inflammations of the brain or its lining), which can be fatal.

According to the Los Angeles Times, a total of 56 dead birds diseased with the West Nile virus have been found in various parts of Los Angeles County.

The most recent bird to test positive for the virus was an American crow discovered July 23 in the 90402 zip code, a staggered area of Santa Monica that stretches from Pacific Coast Highway, east to 26th Street; and from Montana Avenue, north to Pacific Palisades.

The West Nile virus is also known to infect dogs, cats, horses, squirrels and domestic rabbits.

Authorities advise residents to take precautionary measures during this time of hot and humid conditions by applying insect repellent; covering exposed skin; and removing stagnant water in ponds and pools, and any other areas that breed blood-sucking mosquitoes.