Woodford County has had its first bird tested positive for West Nile Virus this year.
The Woodford County Health Department reports a dead crow found in the Metamora area tested positive for West Nile Virus.
West Nile Virus is transmitted to humans through the bite of a mosquito that fed on an infected bird. The Woodford County Health Department does surveillance to monitors birds and mosquitoes that can potentially carry the virus.
Officials urge the public to notify the Woodford County Health Department to report dead birds during normal business hours. West Nile Virus testing is conducted in Woodford County from May 1 through Oct. 15. The department can accept seven birds a year.
Taking some precautions can help residents avoid mosquito bites. Those precautions include practicing the three “R’s,” Reduce, Repel and Report.
REDUCE exposure — Avoid being outdoors when mosquitoes are most active, especially between dusk and dawn. Make sure doors and windows have tight-fitting screens. Repair or replace screens that have tears or other openings. Try to keep doors and windows shut, especially at night. Eliminate all sources of standing water where mosquitoes can breed, including water in bird baths, ponds, flowerpots, wading pools, old tires and any other receptacles.
REPEL mosquitoes — When outdoors, wear shoes and socks, long pants and a long-sleeved shirt, and apply insect repellent that contains DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus or IR 3535, according to label instructions. Consult a physician before using repellents on infants.
REPORT mosquito breeding grounds — In communities where there are organized mosquito control programs, contact your municipal government to report areas of stagnant water in roadside ditches, flooded yards and similar locations that may produce mosquitoes.
Common West Nile virus symptoms include fever, nausea, headache and muscle aches. Symptoms may last from a few days to a few weeks. However, four out of five people infected with West Nile virus will not show any symptoms. In rare cases, severe illness including meningitis or encephalitis, or even death, can occur. People older than 50 are at higher risk for severe illness from West Nile virus.