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Fill-in-Blank News Release for County Health Departments
For Release: June__, 2003
West Nile Virus Prevention and Surveillance
Although no cases of West Nile virus have yet been confirmed in humans in Oklahoma this year, the _____ County Health Department says the public should be taking precautions now to control mosquito populations around their homes and businesses and practice personal prevention by using DEET-based mosquito repellent.
“We want to remind the public that there are things they can do to protect themselves against West Nile virus,” said __________ County Health Department Administrative Director __________.
West Nile virus is spread through the bite of an infected mosquito, usually the Culex mosquito, which acquires the virus after feeding on infected birds. The virus is then transmitted to humans and animals when bitten by the mosquito. Culex mosquitoes are most active in Oklahoma from July through October.
While no human cases of West Nile virus have yet been reported in Oklahoma this summer, equine cases have been confirmed.
“Persons who plan to spend time outside should apply a DEET-based mosquito-repellent to their exposed skin and clothing. DEET contains the chemical N, N-diethyl-m-toluamide, which repels the mosquito,” __________ said.
For homes and businesses, __________ suggested the following mosquito control and prevention tips:
West Nile virus made its official entrance into Oklahoma in 2002 with 21 human cases confirmed and two deaths; 439 birds and 965 horses also tested positive for the virus. Most persons who become infected with West Nile virus will develop a mild flu-like illness or may not have any symptoms. Persons who are 50 years of age and older are at greater risk of developing severe health consequences from West Nile virus, such as encephalitis and meningitis.
State and county health officials are concentrating their resources this year on prevention and control of West Nile virus rather than intensive bird surveillance. West Nile testing of dead birds is limited to communities in 19 counties that have operational mosquito control programs, such as a larvicide treatment program or spraying for adult mosquitoes. The __________ County Health Department (is/is not) collecting dead birds for laboratory testing. [Optional sentence for counties with bird surveillance programs: For instructions on handling birds for testing, call the __________ County Health Department at (phone number).]
“We are very serious about keeping West Nile virus under control but we need the help of the public to make sure they are doing all they can to ‘Fight the Bite’ too,” said __________.
For more information about West Nile virus, visit these Web sites: http://www.health.state.ok.us/program/cdd/ow/index.html and http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvbid/westnile/index.htm
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