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West Nile virus continues spreading across the state
West Virginia now has 34 counties reporting dead birds testing positive with West Nile virus. A dead bird infected with West Nile virus has been found in Logan county. Previously, birds found in Greenbrier, Kanawha, Morgan, Wyoming, Ohio, Cabell, Wayne, Jefferson, Barbour, Webster, Wetzel, Berkeley, Preston, Pendleton, Jackson, Nicholas, Ritchie, Putnam, Wood, Mineral, Roane, Monongalia, Marshall, Boone, Mason Randolph, Lewis, Monroe, Marion, Harrison, Fayette, Gilmer and Grant counties tested positive for the virus.
West Nile virus may be spread to people by the bite of an infected mosquito. Mosquito activity will continue until late fall when temperatures begin to steadily decline and remain cool. At that point, decreasing temperatures will also slow the replication of West Nile virus in the mosquito itself. Until then, preparation and education will go a long way in slowing the spread of the virus.
The potential for other counties to test positive is still possible as mosquito activity continues, but begins to slow. When outdoors during mosquito season, people can protect themselves by being properly clothed in long, loose and light colored clothing and use mosquito repellants containing DEET. When using products that contain DEET, use according to the manufacturer’s recommendations. Never apply products containing DEET to faces and hands of children. In addition, mosquito populations can be reduced by removing all standing water from your property: bird baths, pet bowls, tires, pots, cans or even bottle caps.
Birds are tested for West Nile at the Southeastern Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study at the University of Georgia, College of Veterinary Medicine.
For more information contact your local health department or the Division of Surveillance and Disease Control at 1-304-558-5358 or www.wvdhhr.org.
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