For Immediate Release: September 8, 2006
Media Contact: Communication Office
Vermont Department of Health
BURLINGTON – The Vermont Department of Health announced today that three dead crows discovered in Chittenden County (Jericho, Essex Junction and Burlington) have tested positive for the West Nile virus. A total of five birds, all crows, have tested positive for the virus this summer.
There have been no human cases of West Nile virus in the past two years and no human cases reported in 2006.
Vermont’s first human case of West Nile virus was reported in 2002. Only four of the 888 birds collected in 2005 tested positive for West Nile virus.
“Once again we want to remind Vermonters that the West Nile virus season peaks in late summer and runs through October,” said Patsy Tassler, an epidemiologist with the Vermont Department of Health. “There is a risk of West Nile virus as long as mosquitoes are active.”
The Health Department tests crows, robins, jays, ravens, osprey, hawks, owls, falcons, vultures, and eagles for West Nile virus. These bird species are the most important for indicating the presence of West Nile virus in Vermont.
Monitoring and testing dead birds for the virus helps to prevent human cases by identifying local areas of increased virus activity.
The Department of Health is urging Vermonters to:
- Wear long sleeves and pants and avoid outdoor activities at dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are active.
- Reduce mosquito breeding habitats by getting rid of standing water by draining areas where water can pool such as rain gutters, wading pools and any other water-holding containers such as old tires.
- Use repellents containing no more than 30 percent DEET on adults and no more than 10 percent on children age 3 and older.
- Install or repair screens on windows and doors to keep mosquitoes out.
For more information on West Nile virus, and photos of birds that may be tested, visit the Vermont Department of Health website: healthvermont.gov.
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