West Nile Virus Forecast

Parents have enough to worry about when they send their kids out to play. They shouldn't have to concern themselves with viruses from Equatorial Africa. Unfortunately West Nile Virus is back this year and the Winnebago County Health Board is expecting a busy season. Usually infected birds don't turn up until August but last month two crows were found carrying the virus. Sarah Thode a mother of three says, "We had heard on the news that they had found cases of the West Nile Virus in our zip code so of course our you know our mommy guard went up and ok how do we protect each other?" West Nile Virus is carried primarily by the Culex mosquito which flies no more than one or two miles from where it is born. So unless you live near the river you can almost eliminate the threat. If you refill your birdbaths with new water often, throw away old tires or other containers where water can collect than you deprive these disease carrying bugs of a place to lay their eggs. If you do live near the river you can take solace in the fact that most of the mosquitos you see are floodwater mosquitos, which rarely carry West Nile. Larry Swacina, Director of Environmental Health at the Winnebago County Health Center says, "We are having a bad season obviously for floodwater mosquito and that those are not really our primary concern from a public health standpoint. Certainly they're a big nuisance." A vaccine against the virus has been developed for horses, but scientists have yet to discover a vaccine for humans. So keep putting the bug spray on the kids and yourself, wear light colored clothes and if you find any dead birds call your county health department.

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