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West Nile Virus Found in Mosquitoes in Washington State

The State Department of Health issued an announcement yesterday announcing that the West Nile Virus has been detected in mosquitoes in Washington state for the first time this season.

"West Nile Virus (WNV) can be a serious illness for humans, horses, many species of birds, and other animals. Although the risk of getting WNV is very low, anyone can become infected," states the release. "The most common way that humans get WNV is from the bite of an infected mosquito. Although most mosquitoes in Washington state do not have WNV, the virus was detected in humans, mosquitoes, horses, and birds in five Washington counties last year."

The Kitsap Public Health District wants the public to be aware that personal protection is the key to fighting West Nile Virus. The best ways to prevent the mosquito bites and West Nile Virus is to reduce mosquito breeding habitat around homes, and to avoid biting mosquitoes by doing the following:

• Reduce or eliminate standing water around your home or workplace. Most mosquitoes need standing water to lay their eggs and multiply. Clogged gutters, unmaintained animal troughs, boats, tires, buckets, garbage cans, or other items that can hold standing water for more than four days are places where mosquitoes will breed.

• Make sure that window and door screens are working. Loose fitting or broken screens are access points for mosquitoes to get into your home when they are looking for a blood meal from people or pets.

• Avoid known mosquito areas such as lakes, bogs, wetlands, creek bottoms or dense forests when possible when mosquitoes are present.

• Avoid being outdoors during the prime mosquito biting hours of dusk and dawn.

• Wear protective clothing and use mosquito repellant when you or your family cannot avoid being outside during the prime biting hours or avoid mosquito-prone areas.

• Get into and/or stay in good health. When you eat right and exercise, your body is better able to fight off illness and disease.

Report a Dead Bird

West Nile Virus infects certain wild birds. Of those infected, particular birds – crows, jays, ravens, magpies, and raptors such as hawks and owls – tend to become sick and die. Increasing numbers of dead birds may be an indication of West Nile Virus in a community. The public can help by reporting dead crows and other birds from May through October on the State Department of Health’s web site:http://www.doh.wa.gov/YouandYourFamily/IllnessandDisease/WestNileVirus/ReportaDeadBird.aspx

For additional information about West Nile Virus,  visit http://www.doh.wa.gov/wnv.

 

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