Officials Report New Cases of West Nile Virus

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Umatilla County officials report that West Nile virus has been detected late last week in three more mosquito samples trapped along Bensel Road and Spearman Road in Umatilla County.

West Umatilla Mosquito Control District has now reported 25 positive samples this year.

Residents in the area can expect to see an increase in mosquito control operations based on the positive sample. Ultra Low Volume (ULV) applications of insecticides from truck mounted sprayers will be used to reduce mosquito populations. These applications will typically be made after sunset when mosquitoes are most active. All applicators are licensed by the Oregon Department of Agriculture.

West Nile is primarily a bird disease, and some birds, including magpies, blue jays and crows are especially susceptible. Mosquitoes become infected by feeding on an infected bird and can pass the virus to humans, horses or other hosts when they bite. The public is encouraged to continue to alert district officials when they come across dead birds, so the district can track the spread of the virus.

The risk of West Nile is low but people are encouraged to take appropriate precautions to protect themselves against mosquito bites. Most people who become infected with West Nile Virus do not become ill. Some may develop mild flu-like symptoms such as fever, headache, body aches, and occasionally swollen lymph glands or a rash. In rare cases West Nile may cause encephalitis, or inflammation of the brain. Individuals with severe or unusual headaches should seek medical care as soon as possible. Residents of the district should remain vigilant in protecting themselves from mosquitoes and the diseases that they can carry, such as West Nile virus.

Because horses are also at risk for West Nile, health officials encourage horse owners to check with their veterinarians for vaccination. Veterinarians can arrange for testing of samples from horses suspected of infection with West Nile virus.

Updates about West Nile Virus in Umatilla County will be released to local media outlets or you can go to the district’s web page. at http://www.wumcd.org.