More West Nile

And now, there are two. The community of Devola, just north of Marietta, will be spraying Saturday night. That's after confirmation that dead birds found in that community have West Nile Virus.

"I wasn't on the lookout for it this summer," says Muskingum Township Trustee John Karas, "but I had it on my mind that it may start appearing again this summer, with the mosquitos in the area. It came out a lot sooner, I guess."

The city of Belpre also will be spraying Saturday.

The Washington County Health Department has received calls from concerned residents, since reports of the disease surfaced.

"Currently, we are only testing Blue Jays and Crows," says Health Commissioner Dr. Kathleen Meckstroth. "If they find any other birds, call us and we will take some information over the phone to map out where we can find those dead birds."

Dr. Meckstroth suggests people who find dead birds use protection such as gloves before picking them up and cover them before transporting them to be tested. While West Nile Virus has been detected in this area, health department officials have reminded us that only in the rarest of cases has it been found in individuals.

According to Dr. Meckstroth, "The first reports of deaths a few years ago in New York were all people over the age of 75."

Nonetheless, you can protect yourself by removing any areas from your home which breed mosquitoes. Using an effective mosquito repellant also can keep any disease-carrying pests away.

Symptoms of West Nile Virus are similar to those of the flu. They include a mild headache, fever and muscle aches. Headaches can be more chronic in the rarest of cases.


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