West Nile in Wood County

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The five cases reported last week to the Wood County Health Department were found in deceased birds in various locations around the county.

There have not yet been any locally reported cases in humans, but, in Texas and Missouri, two deaths could be blamed on West Nile. Houston health official Kathy Barton told NBC station KPRC-TV that everyone should be aware.

"Just because you are young and healthy does not mean you are immune to risk here and you can do whatever you want to do," Barton said. “Everyone is at risk, everyone needs to take precautions."

While West Nile isn't yet considered at epidemic proportions, where it is a concern, doctors are sending samples out for testing.

Some people reporting to the emergency room at Camden-Clark Memorial Hospital with flu-like symptoms, have feared they could be the result of a West Nile infection.

Dr. Ray Viducich: "There's been 10 patients in the last two to three weeks whose past histories have concerned us enough to send out lab work," says Dr. Ray Viducich, Medical Director of Emergency Service at CCMH. "All, so far, have been negative."

But the Wood County Health Department believes that, considering the growing number of cases nationwide, more confirmed cases could be reported locally.

Even with confirmed cases, the precautions you have to take to ward off potentially deadly mosquitoes haven't changed:

  • Containers of standing water should be removed from property, because stagnant water is a breeding ground for mosquitoes.

  • When outdoors during mosquito season, residents should wear long-sleeved clothing and use bug repellent using at least 25 percent Deet.

  • The public is asked to notify their local health departments if they find any sick or dead birds.

  • The Wood County Health Department can be reached at 304-485-7374.

  • The Washington County Health Department can be reached at 740-374-2782.