West Nile VirusFor the most up to date information on the West Nile Virus in Washington State go to the Department of Health website at www.doh.wa.gov/ehp/ts/Zoo/WNV.html or call 1-866-78VIRUS which is a toll free number. Information can be given on avoiding the disease, including mosquito bite prevention and mosquito breeding habitat reduction strategies.
Information on the West Nile virus
What is West Nile virus?
West Nile can be a serious, even fatal illness, that can affect people, horses, certain types of birds, and other animals. West Nile virus first appeared in 1999 in New York City. Since 1999, West Nile virus has spread rapidly throughout the country. In 2002, the virus was found for the first time in birds and horses in Washington State.
The CDC offers an overview of the West Nile virus at http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvbid/westnile/index.htm
How is West Nile virus spread?
West Nile virus is almost always spread to people by the bite of an infected mosquito. Mosquitoes become infected after feeding on birds that carry the virus. The virus is not carried by ticks or other insects. There is no evidence that West Nile can be spread by direct contact with infected people or animals. As more is learned about West Nile virus, new routes of infection may be found.
Who is at risk?
The risk of getting West Nile virus is very low, but anyone can become infected. People over 50 years of age have the highest risk or serious illness.
Most Common Symptoms
Most people who become infected by West Nile virus will not become sick or have any symptoms. About 1 in 5 people infected can have mild symptoms such as body aches, fever or headache. Even fewer, approximately 1 in 150 people infected, will have more severe symptoms. Severe symptoms may include high fever, headache, neck stiffness, stupor, convulsions, muscle weakness, tremors, disorientation, paralysis and coma. If you have any of these symptoms, contact your local health care provider to review symptoms.
How Can I Protect Myself and My Family?
There is no human vaccine for West Nile virus. The best way to protect yourself or others is to avoid mosquito bites and reduce the places mosquitos breed near your house.
What type of mosquito repellant is effective?
Repellant that contains DEET is the most effective. DEET is available in sprays, creams, lotions and gels. Don't over-use repellant.
How do I report a dead bird?
West Nile virus infects certain wild birds. Of those infected, particular birds-crows, jays, ravens, and magpies-tend to become sick and die. Increasing numbers of dead birds may be an indication of West Nile virus in your community. You can help by reporting dead crows and other birds to your local health department's environmental health program. Although it is important for public health officials to track dead bird sightings, most dead birds will not be collected or tested. When disposing of dead birds, use gloves or double plastic bags to place the carcass in a garbage can. While there is no evidence that you can get West Nile from handling dead birds, avoid bare-handed contact.
If you have additional questions regarding the West Nile virus, contact your local health department. In the Goldendale area the number is (509) 773-4565 and in the White Salmon area the number is (509) 493-1558.
Date of Source Material: 1/27/2006
Source: Public Health
Link to Source:
Kevin Barry: Director
8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. M-F
**In Case of Public Health Emergency call
228 W Main St, MS-CH-14
Goldendale, WA 98620
Fax: 509 773-5991
Phone: 509 773-4565
White Salmon Office:
501 NE Washington
PO BOX 159
White Salmon, WA 98672
Fax: 509 493-4025
Phone: 509 493-1558