OREGON COUNTY -- Oregon County Health Department Director Shiela Russell reminds county residents it's the time of year to start preparing for West Nile virus (WNV) and to take action to reduce their risk of infection.
"To date, there have been no cases of WNV reported in Missouri. This year our health department is encouraging all citizens who see dead birds to report them to our office for surveillance purposes. We will be logging all calls relating to dead birds and accepting certain species for testing purposes," Russell said.
Russell said the WNV is spread to persons after they are bitten by infected mosquitoes. "There are some simple steps people can take to reduce their risk of being infected," she said. Some of those include: remove standing water from your yard; make sure roof gutters are drained; change water in bird baths daily; stay indoors at dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are most active; wear long sleeved shirts and long pants when you must be outdoors; use an approved insect repellent and follow instructions on the label.
"All Oregon County residents need to report dead cows, blue jays, house sparrows and hawks. They can do so by calling the health department at 778-7450. The health department is actively working this year to lower the risk of WMV in the county. Besides testing and mapping dead birds for the virus, the health department also monitors hospitals and clinics for symptoms from the illness." Russell said.