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West Nile problem over for year

October 24, 2002|by SCOTT BUTKI

scottb@herald-mail.com

The mosquito-spread West Nile virus problem is over for the year because mosquitoes went dormant with the first hard freeze, but the problem will resurface in the spring, Washington County Health Officer William Christoffel said Wednesday.

The freeze occurred within the last week, he said.

The Health Department is already planning ways to fight the spread of the virus in the spring. The work will include putting larvicide in storm water management ponds and determining areas considered most vulnerable to outbreaks, he said.

In Washington County, a 67-year-old woman, 34 birds and three horses tested positive for West Nile, Health Department officials said.

The woman, whose name was not released, did not require hospitalization and is recovering, Christoffel said.

Other humans probably had the virus but did not know it, Christoffel said. Though most people infected with West Nile suffer no symptoms, some develop flu-like symptoms and fewer still develop more serious illnesses, health officials said.

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Once infected with the virus, a person is believed to be immune for the rest of his or her life, Christoffel said.

A Tire Amnesty Day in late September helped eliminate some possible breeding areas, he said. More than 7,500 tires were dropped off at county sites that day.

Tires are a breeding ground for mosquitoes.

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