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West Nile virus found in two Pierce crows; one in Lewis County

Post by Joe Turner on Oct. 6, 2008 at 10:32 am with No Comments »
October 6, 2008 10:32 am

Just got this one in my e-mail.

West Nile virus found in two additional western Washington counties — first detections this year in these locations

Dead crows collected in Lewis and Pierce County test positive for the virus

OLYMPIA –Three dead birds — one from Lewis County and two from Pierce County — have tested positive for West Nile virus. The state Department of Health says these are the first positive test results in these west side counties this season; West Nile positive dead birds were previously reported in King and Thurston counties in 2008. The latest test results also detected more positive dead birds in King County (1), and Benton County (5) and two more horse cases.

The virus has already been active in eastern and central Washington this year. Three human cases of West Nile infection have been confirmed so far this season. Health officials believe all three were exposed while traveling in eastern Washington or eastern Oregon.

The virus has also been detected in more than three dozen horses, 19 dead birds, and more than 40 mosquito samples. Nearly all of those positive samples have been in eastern Washington.

“These latest test results confirm that West Nile virus is present on both sides of our state,” said Gregg Grunenfelder, assistant secretary for the agency’s division of Environmental Health. “Fall weather is bringing cooler temperatures, yet mosquitoes are still out there and people should take precautions to avoid getting bitten.”

Although mosquito season is coming to a close, mosquitoes are still active until the first freeze. People can prevent West Nile infection by avoiding mosquito bites. Stay indoors around dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are most active, ensure door and window screens are working, and use a mosquito repellent when necessary. Always follow label directions when using repellents.

It’s also important to reduce mosquito habitat around the home. Emptying water from old tires; turning over old buckets or cans; and frequently changing water in pet dishes, birdbaths, and water troughs helps eliminate the small puddles of water in which many mosquito larvae grow.

West Nile virus can cause meningitis (inflammation of the lining of the spinal cord and brain) or encephalitis (inflammation of the brain). People over age 50 have the highest risk for serious illness. There’s no specific treatment for West Nile virus infection.

West Nile virus is mainly a bird disease. Mosquitoes become infected by feeding on an infected bird and can pass the virus to humans, horses, or other hosts. This season nearly 100 dead birds have been tested statewide. People are encouraged to report dead birds, especially crows, jays, magpies, and ravens, to local health agencies for possible collection and testing.

More information on West Nile virus (www.doh.wa.gov/WNV) is on the Department of Health Web site. Contact your local health department (www.doh.wa.gov/LHJMap/LHJMap.htm) with questions about West Nile virus monitoring in your community.

State Government
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