West Nile Instructions

By: Todd Baucher
By: Todd Baucher

As we told you earlier this week, one-fourth of West Virginia's counties have reported birds testing positive for West Nile virus. While no positive tests have surfaced in Wood County, there have been two positive reports in or near Washington County.

In his own words, Steve Bayer, the environmental director for the mid-Ohio Valley Health Department explains how you can transport a suspicious bird for testing.

"The most routine way to do it, is to take a Ziploc bag, turn it inside out so it protects your hand, take the dead bird, and once you have it inside the bag, then take the Ziploc bag and pull it right side out with the bird inside, zip it up, place it in another container, be it a garbage bag or a grocery bag, put some ice or an ice pack in there, and bring it to the health department," says Steve.

West Nile testing:

Mid-Ohio Valley Health Department: 304-485-1416

Other local health departments:

Calhoun County: 304-354-6101

Pleasants County: 304-684-2461

Ritchie County: 304-643-2917

Roane County: 304-927-1480

Wirt County: 304-275-3131]

If you find a suspicious bird, you can contact the mid-Ohio Valley Health Department in Parkersburg, at 304-485-1416.

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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. Remove standing water from any item or area that can hold water. Standing water is a perfect breeding place for mosquitoes.

  • 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; spray on clothing, as well. Be sure repellent is safe for human skin and clothing.

  • Wash off repellent daily and reapply as needed.

  • Stay inside at dawn and dusk because that is when mosquitoes are most active.

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

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