West Nile Virus is found in birds and horses.
Blue jays and crows are common birds that
may be infected with the virus. The Minnesota
Department of Health has collected dead birds
found in Otter Tail County. As of August 9,
2002, the lab results have not been returned.
It is expected that birds in Otter Tail County
will be positive for
West Nile Virus.
West Nile Virus is spread by mosquitoes. The
mosquito feeds on infected birds. The virus
is then transmitted to the mosquito. The mosquito
transmits the virus through biting humans.
Physicians in Otter Tail County have received
information about the West Nile Virus and
are aware of the need to consider this illness
when persons present with symptoms.
How do I know if I have the
West Nile Virus?
The incubation period for this virus is 3-14
days. The symptoms are similar to a flu-like
illness. In some instances persons will become
very ill and develop neurological symptoms.
There is no vaccine to prevent West Nile Virus.
There is no medication to treat the disease.
Seek medical attention if your symptoms are
severe and involve severe weakness, headache,
and changes in mental status.
How can we protect ourselves?
Clearly this is an illness that PREVENTION
is the best way to avoid getting West Nile
Virus. PERSONAL PROTECTION
is what you need to do. Avoid being outdoors
during mosquito feeding periods. Wear protective
clothing such as long sleeves or long pants
if you must be outdoors. Use mosquito repellant.
In a recent report, Deep Woods Off was found
to repel the mosquitoes for the longest period
HABITAT ELIMINATION is another
prevention technique. Remove old tires, bird
baths, plugged rain gutters, standing pails
of water or other items that will hold standing
water. Standing water and moist areas are
breeding grounds for all kinds of mosquitoes.