M.C. Mosquito Pools Continue to Test Positive for West Nile Virus

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West Nile virus, a mild flu-like disease spread by mosquitoes, has been reported to have been found again in three testing sites in Morrow County, according to Oregon Public Health officials.

The mosquitoes were collected the week of Sept. 5 in North Morrow County and tested at Oregon State University’s Veterinary Diagnostic laboratory in Corvallis, Oregon.

Health officials are advising people in Morrow County to take precautions against mosquitoes in order to avoid the risk of infection.

“The risk of contracting West Nile virus may be low, but we do encourage people to take appropriate precautions to protect themselves against mosquito bites,” said Greg Barron, Manager of North Morrow Vector Control District. “We will continue to increase our mosquito control operations utilizing our Ultra Low Volume (ULV) truck mounted sprayers and possibly some spraying by helicopter to reduce adult mosquito populations,” Barron said.

Dr. Emilio DeBess, public health veterinarian says simple precautions can prevent the spread of West Nile virus:

  • Eliminate sources of standing water that are a breeding ground for mosquitoes, including watering troughs, bird baths, ornamental ponds, buckets, wading and swimming pools not in use and old tires.
  • When engaged in outdoor activities at dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active protect yourself by using mosquito repellants containing DEET, oil of lemon eucalyptus or Picardin and Products containing IR3535 include Skin So Soft, Bug Guard Plus, Expedition and SkinSmart and follow the directions on the container.
  • Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants in mosquito-infested areas.
  • Make sure screen doors and windows are in good repair and fit tightly.

Because of the number of mosquito pools testing positive in any area could lead to infection, os, Morrow County Health Department Health Educator, recommends people and animals be protected against mosquito bites.

Eighty percent of people infected with West Nile virus exhibit no symptoms. Of the remaining 20 percent, most have very mild symptoms, such as fever, headaches and nausea lasting from three to six days. In a few cases, more severe symptoms may occur including convulsions or disorientation. The central nervous system also may be affected, resulting in a headache associated with fever, aseptic meningitis or encephalitis. West Nile is spread to humans through the bite of an infected mosquito.

Most infected people will show little or no signs of disease. About 1 in 5 infected people may show signs of West Nile fever. People at risk include those individuals over 50 years of age, people with immune compromising conditions, or those people with diabetes and high blood pressure. Symptoms may include fever above 100 degrees and severe headache, stiff neck, mental confusion, muscle weakness, shaking, paralysis, or rash. It is important that you contact your health care provider if you experience any of these symptoms. The fever syndrome may last from a few days to several weeks. The incubation period is usually 2-14 days.

Consult your health care provider if you have these symptoms. Health Care Providers may contact the Morrow County Health Department for information on West Nile virus testing services that the Oregon Public Health Lab offers.