West Nile Virus Season Arrives in Summer of 2003
Oklahoma City, Ok. – The Oklahoma State Department of Health has some tips to help keep down the mosquito populations which could carry the West Nile virus that affects birds and horses as well as humans. Take care to rid your yard of standing water which serves as mosquitoes' breeding grounds. Wash out bird baths and wading pools a couples of times a week and change pet water dishes often.
Avoid the outdoors when the culex mosquitoes that carry the virus are most active, the hours around dawn and dusk. Wear long sleeves and long pants to expose less skin to the insects. Wear insect repellant containing deet according to instructions.
Contact your local health department about any dead birds, especially crows, bluejays and raptors. Vaccinate horses to help them become immune to the virus. No vaccine is yet available for humans but the health experts say just a small percent of those getting the virus, mostly the elderly, develop fatal complications. The Oklahoma Blood Institute is now testing donated blood for the presence of the virus to help avoid transmission of blood that could be infected.