West Nile Virus is spread to humans by the bite of an infected mosquito. When a mosquito bites a bird that carries the virus, the mosquito becomes infected. It is believed that people cannot get West Nile Virus directly from another person, or animal, that has the disease. It is believed that this disease is only transmitted by mosquitoes.
The Crawford County General Health District works with the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) on surveillance of WNV. More information from the ODH website can be viewed at: http://www.odh.ohio.gov/odhPrograms/dis/zoonoses/wnv/wnv1.aspx
During the summer months we can submit dead crows or blue jays to the ODH Vector-borne Disease laboratory for testing of WNV. West Nile virus kills birds, and the most sensitive species in Ohio are American Crows and blue jays. Individuals that find a dead crow or blue jay can submit the bird to this office during the testing months (mid May to mid September). Wear rubber gloves when handling any dead animal or use a shovel. Always wash your hands afterwards. Place the bird in a plastic bag and then place it in another plastic bag. If the bird is not showing any signs of decay and does not have a strong odor, refrigerate the bird and contact the health department. If it is decaying or has a strong odor, it can be buried or thrown out with the trash. The dead bird should still be reported to the health department so it can be plotted on a map for hot spots in the county.
Tips to protect yourself around your home
- Eliminate standing water around your yard (flower pots, buckets, tires, etc.)
- Turn over items that can store water (barrels, kiddie pools, wheelbarrows, etc.)
- Change the water in bird baths every week
- Use repellents that contain DEET. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for use - especially around children
- If possible, avoid being outside from dusk to dawn
- Wear light colored clothing. Shirts should have long sleeves, and wear long pants
To treat standing water you can purchase “Mosquito Dunks” from your local hardware suppliers (such as TSC and True Value). These dunks are safe to use around pets, wildlife, and humans.
- Mild fever
- Muscle aches
- Stiff neck
Other Sources of Information
Information for kids
This link will take you to a downloadable coloring book and other activities for kids: