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2002/07/24

More West Nile Virus Found In Midstate The Tennessee Department of Health has found two more birds from the midstate area with West Nile virus. A blue jay found in Coffee County (Manchester) and a crow in Robertson County (Cross Plains) both tested positive for the virus. In addition, positive test results were obtained on one more bird from Shelby County, bringing the statewide total for this year up to 8 of 125 birds tested. The virus has also been seen in Davidson County. "These test results reinforce the need for Tennesseans to remain vigilant about mosquito control and personal protection," said Health Commissioner Fredia Wadley, MD. "We expect that the list of counties where the virus has been found will continue to expand as summer progresses. While the risk of West Nile virus to humans is low, the best way to protect yourself is to keep mosquitoes from biting you." West Nile Virus is a mosquito-borne virus that can occasionally cause an infection of the brain in humans. Mosquitoes become infected when they feed on infected birds and can then transmit the virus to humans and also horses through mosquito bites. To protect yourself from West Nile virus during this mosquito season (generally April to October), consider limiting your outdoor activities between dusk and dawn (the time of greatest mosquito activity), use a mosquito repellent that contains the chemical DEET, wear protective clothing such as long pants, long-sleeved shirts and socks if you are outside when mosquitoes are prevalent, and get rid of standing water where mosquitoes can breed to reduce mosquito populations around your home and neighborhood. The Tennessee Department of Health is testing fresh samples of crows and blue jays only as part of their surveillance for WNV. Other species of birds are not susceptible to the virus, so they are not being tested. If you notice a freshly dead crow or blue jay, you should contact your local health department to see about testing. Do not call the health department to report other types of dead birds. To keep a bird from deteriorating in the heat, you should place it in a plastic bag (hand in bag, grasp bird, pull bag over hand), double bag and refrigerate, freeze or keep on ice until it can be delivered or picked up.

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