West Nile Virus Case Confirmed in Coos County

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Two human cases of the West Nile virus have been confirmed in Oregon this week, prompting health officials to remind people to protect themselves during the coming Labor Day weekend.

One individual each in Coos and Malheur counties has tested positive for the virus, according to health officials. Both individuals – a man and a woman, both 50 or older – are recovering.

Until this week, the virus had been found only in animals in Oregon, including a horse in Klamath County; a mosquito pool in Jackson County; two mosquito pools in Morrow County; and 55 mosquito pools and a bird in Malheur County. A mosquito pool is a sample of up to 50 female mosquitoes of the same species collected at one site.

West Nile virus is a potentially serious illness spread by mosquitoes. Most infections are mild, with fever and flu‐like symptoms, but severe infections may cause encephalitis (inflammation of the brain), and rarely, death. Oregon’s state and county public health departments, together with vector control districts, have been testing mosquito pools and tracking West Nile virus cases since 1999, when the virus first appeared in the United
States. Oregon Public Health uses information about the distribution of West Nile virus to protect the health of Oregonians.

“Having tracked West Nile cases for many years now, we know that the number of cases typically peaks by Labor Day weekend,” said Emilio DeBess, D.V.M., M.P.H., Oregon Health Authority veterinarian. “There are simple things people can do to protect themselves.”

DeBess says the following precautions can prevent the spread of West Nile virus:

• Eliminate sources of standing water that are a breeding ground for mosquitoes, including watering troughs, bird baths, clogged gutters and old tires.
• When outdoors at dusk or dawn when mosquitoes are most active, protect yourself by using mosquito repellents containing DEET, oil of lemon eucalyptus or Picaridin, and follow the directions on the container.
• Wear long‐sleeved shirts and long pants in mosquito‐infested areas.
• Make sure screen doors and windows are in good repair and fit tightly.

Additional information about West Nile virus is available at:
Oregon Health Authority 

This entry was posted on Tuesday, August 28th, 2012 and is filed under Local News, Press Releases, State News.