Still Spraying

After the discovery in July, Belpre's health department immediately began spraying to rid the are of mosquitoes which might have been carrying the deadly West Nile virus.

While efforts like those continue, the head of the health department hopes they won't be needed much longer

"The mosquito activity is dropping off," according to city health commissioner Charles Hammer, "so I think the level of viral activity in the wildlife and the threat to people is dropping off. But, we're still trying to be vigilant about it for another couple of weeks."

Meanwhile, the total number of West Virginia counties reporting West Nile cases is now at 26. Monongalia County is the latest to be added to the list, according to the Associated Press. The list also includes Wood, Jackson and Mason counties from the mid-Ohio Valley So far, no humans in West Virginia have been diagnosed with West Nile. State health officials say people can protect themselves by wearing long, loose, light-colored clothing, and using mosquito repellant which contains "deet."

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West Nile virus Facts

  • The West Nile virus is a mosquito-borne virus that can cause encephalitis (an inflammation of the brain) or meningitis (inflammation of the lining of the brain and spinal cord) in humans and other animals.

  • The virus is named after the West Nile region of Uganda where it was first isolated in1937.

  • The virus appeared for the first time in the United States during a 1999 outbreak in New York that killed seven people.

How is the West Nile virus Spread?

  • The virus is spread to humans, birds and other animals through the bite of an infected mosquito.

  • A mosquito becomes infected by biting a bird that is carrying the virus.

  • West Nile virus is not spread from person to person, and no evidence indicates the virus can be spread directly from birds to humans.

  • Only a small population of mosquitoes are likely to be infected and most people bitten by an infected mosquito do not become sick.

  • 1 in 300 people bitten by an infected mosquito get sick.

  • 1 in 100-150 who get sick become seriously ill.

  • 3 to 15 percent of those seriously ill die.

Symptoms of the Virus

  • The symptoms generally appear about 3 to 6 days after exposure. People over the age of 50 are at a greater risk of severe illness.

  • Milder symptoms include: Slight fever, headache, body aches, swollen glands and/or sometimes a skin rash.

  • Severe symptoms include: High fever, intense headache, stiff neck, and/or confusion.

Protecting Yourself

  • Control mosquitoes from breeding around your home.

  • Wear long and light colored clothing.

  • Use insect repellent products with no ore than 20-30 percent DEET for adults and less than 10 percent for children.

  • Spray repellent on your hands and then apply to your face. Be sure repellent is safe for human skin.

  • Wash off repellent daily and reapply as needed.

Source: www.vdh.state.va.us contributed to this report


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