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West Nile Virus Hotline to open

NORTH COAST - With warmer weather already beginning to hit the North Coast, the West Nile Virus Surveillance Hotline will be activated Wednesday.

The Department of Health and Human Services is urging the public to keep tabs on any reported dead birds and tree squirrels. Last year California had a record number of West Nile cases. Already in 2015, the virus has been confirmed in five counties. In 2014, there were two reported cases on the North Coast involving birds. There has never been a human case in Humboldt County.

Health officials recommend if you are outdoors and mosquitos are present, use Deet, Picaridin or Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus for protection. Although West Nile is seldom fatal to humans, is can cause symptoms of fever, muscle pain and nausea. Sometimes there are no symptoms at all. It can be fatal to animals.

Currently, there is no vaccine against the virus. To report information regarding the West Nile Virus call: 1-877-968-2473.