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Fill-in-Blank News Release for County Health Departments

For Release: _____, 2005
Contact: __________
_____ County Health Department
(Phone)

_____ County Health Department Says Take Precautions
Now to Prevent West Nile Virus

The ______ County Health Department announced today that health departments will not be accepting dead birds for testing for West Nile virus (WNV) this summer.

“From testing in previous years, we know that the disease is now a seasonal health threat throughout Oklahoma,” said _____, administrative director for the _____ County Health Department. “Using that knowledge, we can better focus our efforts on community mosquito control and prevention.”

_____ said the Culex mosquito that spreads WNV will be active in Oklahoma from now until November. “These mosquitoes pick up the virus when they feed on infected birds, and then transmit the virus when they bite humans, horses and some other mammals,” s/he said.

July through October are the highest risk months for exposure to West Nile virus in Oklahoma. “Even so, it is not too early to begin mosquito control prevention now around your home and business,” _____ emphasized.

_____ suggested remembering the 4 D’s of Defense as an easy way to protect yourself against WNV. They include:

  • 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 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.

Human and equine cases of WNV will continue to be tracked on the Oklahoma State Department of Health Web site at: http://www.health.state.ok.us/program/cdd/wnv. Horse owners are reminded to contact their veterinarian for information on how to protect their horses from WNV through vaccination. There is no vaccination available for humans at this time.

For general information about the West Nile virus and prevention tips, visit these Web sites: http://www.health.state.ok.us/program/cdd/wnv and http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvbid/westnile/index.htm.

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