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Virus has hit local animals

September 30, 2002|by ANDREA ROWLAND

andrear@herald-mail.com

Four horses and 42 birds have tested positive for West Nile virus in the Tri-State area, health officials in Maryland, Pennsylvania and West Virginia said recently.

Three horses and 33 birds have tested positive for the virus in Washington County, said Laurie Bucher, the county health department's director of environmental health.

More than 500 birds of about 1,400 tested in 21 jurisdictions statewide have been found positive for West Nile virus since surveillance began in Maryland on May 8, according to the state Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

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Forty-five mosquito pools statewide have tested positive for the virus, according to the state agency.

A mosquito pool is a group of mosquitoes collected at selected areas.

Five birds, one horse and two mosquito pools had tested positive for West Nile in Franklin County, Pa., as of Friday, said Dave Stoner of the Franklin County Conservation District.

There are no confirmed cases of the virus in Fulton County, Pa., according to Pennsylvania's West Nile Surveillance Program Web site.

More than 330 mosquito pools collected statewide had tested positive for West Nile as of Friday, according to the Web site.

Four birds have tested positive for West Nile virus in the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia - three in Berkeley County and one in Jefferson County, said Twila Carr, chief sanitarian for the Berkeley County Health Department.

More than 110 species of birds are known to have been infected with West Nile virus, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta.

Infected birds, particularly crows and jays, can die or become ill but most infected birds survive, according to the CDC.

More information about cases of West Nile virus in West Virginia is available online at www.wvdhhr.org.

Pennsylvania's West Nile Surveillance Program can be accessed online at www.westnile.state.pa.us.

Information about West Nile virus in Maryland can be found online at www.edcp.org.

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