Birds in East Kootenay test positive for West Nile virus

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MI has seen outbreaks of West Nile virus every summer since 2002.

IH and the B.C. Centre for Disease Control say the risk of infection from handling birds is very low. If you are outdoors at any time and notice mosquitoes around you, take steps to avoid being bitten by moving indoors, covering up and/or wearing repellant. Unusual clusters of dead birds can be reported to the B.C. Interagency Wild Bird Mortality Investigation at 1-866-431-BIRD (2473).

Even though it is called West Nile, as its symptoms were fist categorised and isolated in Uganda, the virus reportedly afflicts people and livestock in Europe, Asia, Africa, and North America.

So far, no human cases have been reported, no positive mosquito pools have been identified, and Canadian Blood Services has seen no positives through its screening program.

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The Town of Ashland also had mosquitoes with West Nile Virus detected and was notified by the state.

The press release from the MDHHS stated that there have been eight confirmed cases with six of them happening in Oakland and Wayne Counties.

The risk of getting West Nile virus is highest in the warmer months of the summer, usually from the end of July through August. Officials say most people who contract the virus have no clinical symptoms, but some may become sick three to 15 days after being bitten.

Prevent mosquitos breeding near your home. Apply insect repellents sparingly to exposed skin. Check the product label for instructions on proper use. Local authorities were urged by the ministry to fumigate areas where there are large concentrations of mosquitoes and/or larvae. "Some steps you can take include using Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered insect repellents, wearing light-colored long-sleeved shirts and trousers when outside and using mosquito netting to protect infants in carriages, strollers and playpens".

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