Oswego County Public Information Office, 46 East Bridge St., Oswego, NY 13126

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Aug. 17, 2004

Oswego County Identifies West Nile Virus In Pulaski

The Oswego County Health Department has been notified by the New York State Department of Health that a dead crow has tested positive for West Nile virus. The crow was found on Salmon Meadow Lane in the village of Pulaski.

County Health Commissioner Kathleen Smith said this is the first confirmation of West Nile virus this summer in Oswego County.

The virus, which is carried by mosquitoes, can cause serious illness and can be fatal in rare instances. Most people infected with West Nile don't experience symptoms. People over age 50 and people with weakened immune systems are most susceptible to the disease.

A severe case of West Nile virus is characterized by a high fever that develops rapidly, with headache and body aches. Symptoms usually develop five to 15 days after exposure. Anyone who has these symptoms should see a doctor immediately.

West Nile can be transmitted by mosquitoes to birds and some mammals. The American crow appears to be most susceptible to the virus. The county health department collects dead crows that appear to have been dead for less than 24 hours, and submits them to the state health department for testing.

"Once we receive positive test results that confirm West Nile virus in an area of the county, we do not continue to collect birds from that same general area," said Smith. "However, we will continue to take reports of dead crows in order to track the disease."

To report a dead crow, call the environmental division of the health department weekdays, phone 349-3564 or 1-800-596-3200, ext. 3564.

The health department recommends that people use common sense measures to protect themselves from mosquito bites.

  • Limit outside activities in areas where you would expect to find mosquitoes, and during periods of peak activity, at dawn and dusk.
  • Wear shoes, socks, long pants, and shirts with long sleeves if you are outside in an area where mosquitoes are active.
  • Insect repellents are effective in preventing mosquito bites; always follow the directions on the package.
  • Mosquitoes can develop in standing water that lasts more than four days. There are several things people can do to reduce or eliminate standing water around the home:
  • Dispose of tin cans, plastic containers, ceramic pots or similar water-holding containers.
  • Dispose of used tires. Old tires are a common breeding site for mosquitoes.
  • Drill holes in the bottoms of recycling containers that are kept outdoors.
  • Make sure roof gutters drain properly.
  • Turn over plastic wading pools and wheelbarrows when not in use.
  • Change water in birdbaths twice a week.
  • Clean and chlorinate swimming pools. Drain water from pool covers.

For more information, call the county health department, or log onto the state Department of Health web site at www.health.state.ny.us

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