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Fill-in-Blank News Release for County Health Departments

For Release: June __ 2004
Contact: (Administrative Director)
________ County Health Department
(Phone)

County Health Department Reminds Public to Be “ON WATCH” for West Nile Virus

As we enter mid-summer, the _____ County Health Department reminds the public that West Nile virus season is in full swing and everyone should be trying to protect themselves against mosquito bites.

“West Nile virus can be a debilitating disease,” said _____. “We strongly urge _____ County citizens to use mosquito control prevention activities around your home and business.”

_____ suggested using the following “‘4 D’s of Defense” to protect yourself against West Nile virus.

  • Dusk and dawn – Avoid outdoor activities during these prime times for mosquito activity.
  • Dress – Wear long pants and long sleeves when outside to cover the skin.
  • DEET – Use an insect repellent containing DEET (N, N-diethyl-m-toluamide) when outdoors and reapply according to label directions.
  • Drain – Drain those items that collect standing water around your home, yard, or business. Scrub and refill pet water dishes and bird baths regularly.

West Nile virus is spread through the bite of the Culex mosquito, which feeds on infected birds and then transmits the virus when biting humans, horses, and some other mammals.

Thus far this summer, 13 birds and 2 horses have tested positive for West Nile virus in Oklahoma. No human cases have yet been reported. In 2003, 79 persons were diagnosed with West Nile virus in Oklahoma, with no deaths. In 2002, 21 persons in the state were reported with the disease, and two persons died.

Option for counties participating in testing: “We continue to accept wild dead birds for testing for West Nile virus,” _____ said. S/he said testing priority is given to blue jays, crows, cardinals, bluebirds, and birds of prey, including hawks, owls, falcons and eagles. Should you find one of these dead birds in your yard or property, call the _____ County Health Department at (phone number) for instructions on how to submit the bird for testing.

For more information on West Nile virus, contact the _____ County Health Department at (phone number) or visit these Web sites:
http://www.health.state.ok.us/program/cdd/ow and
http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvbid/westnile/index.htm

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