Crow found in Jefferson Co. tests positive for West Nile

August 13, 2003|by DAVE McMILLION

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - A crow found in the Kearneysville, W.Va., area July 31 tested positive for West Nile virus, prompting health officials to re-emphasize the need for people to take precautions against the disease.

The crow was found by a person at a Kearneysville-area business, said Judi Rice, sanitarian supervisor for the Jefferson County Health Department.

The bird was sent to the University of Georgia where it tested positive for West Nile virus, Rice said.

West Nile virus has been spreading across the country. And although there are birds throughout Jefferson County that probably are infected, Rice said this case is an example of why people need to be careful.


Rice said a lot of people work in the area of the Bardane (W.Va.) Industrial Park, which is near where the crow was found.

Rice said local residents need to take precautions to protect themselves from West Nile virus.

Rice also emphasized the need for homeowners to eliminate any standing water on their properties to limit breeding grounds for mosquitoes, which carry the disease.

Rice said "even the smallest amount of water" needs to be addressed. "We're talking about flower pots and upturned Frisbees," said Rice, adding that it now appears that the type of mosquitoes that carry the virus are the ones that breed in very small amounts of water.

Most the deaths and other problems associated with West Nile virus have been in the West, but that could change, Rice said.

"We may pick up very quickly here," Rice said.

West Nile is spread to people by the bite of an infected mosquito. It cannot be spread from casual person-to-person contact.

To reduce the number of mosquitoes around the home and neighborhood, the Jefferson County Health department suggests:

  • Empty standing or stagnant water from cans, bottles, old tires, wading pools, flower pots and other containers.

  • Clean out clogged gutters and drill holes in the bottom of recycling containers to eliminate potential mosquito breeding grounds.

  • Make sure all windows have proper screens to keep mosquitoes out of the home.

Rice said no cases of West Nile virus have been confirmed in animals or people in West Virginia this year.

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