West Nile Virus Surveillance Season Concludes

For Immediate Release: October 20, 2006

Media Contact: Communication Office
802-863-7281

BURLINGTON – A relatively cool, wet summer kept West Nile virus transmission in check this season as the Vermont Department of Health concludes its statewide surveillance for the virus today.

No human cases were reported and a total of nine dead birds tested positive for the virus. The Vermont Department of Health received 924 dead bird reports during the 2006 season and 125 birds were tested.

Monitoring dead birds helps to prevent human cases of the virus by identifying local areas of increased virus activity.

Three human case of West Nile virus were reported in Vermont in 2003. No human cases have been reported in the last three years.

“With Vermonters’ assistance, we streamlined our dead bird surveillance system this year by only testing certain species of birds for West Nile Virus, corvids, raptors and robins,” said Patsy Tassler, Health Department Epidemiologist. “This more efficient system enabled us to document West Nile virus activity in two counties this season.”

Due to the increasingly cold weather, there is little risk of West Nile virus transmission because mosquito activity is at a minimum. Routine surveillance of mosquito activity will resume in the spring of 2007.

West Nile virus was first documented in the U.S. in 1999 and in Vermont in 2000.
More information about West Nile virus can be found at the Vermont Department of Health website healthvermont.gov.

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