Dead bird in Eugene tests positive for West Nile virus

Dead bird in Eugene tests positive for West Nile virus
Posted on 08/18/2016

 By The Register-Guard AUG. 18, 2016


 In the first reported case in Lane County this year, a dead bird found in Eugene has tested positive for the West Nile virus, the county health department said.


The virus can be transmitted to humans via a mosquito, although most people infected with the virus have no symptoms, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


The blue jay was found last week in the yard of a home in the College Hill neighborhood in south Eugene, according to health department spokesman Jason Davis.


He said other dead birds were found in the yard so the homeowner called the health department, which had the blue jay tested.


While human cases of West Nile virus in Lane County are rare, county health officials warned home­owners to be aware of the potential this time of year for the West Nile disease.


“This case really reminds us of the health challenges which present themselves during late summer and early fall, namely those associated with outdoor activity,” said Dr. Patrick Luedtke, chief health officer for Lane County.


“Fortunately, with minimal preventive effort, keeping safe during late summer is quite achievable.”


West Nile is a seasonal virus that flares up in the summer and continues into the fall until temperatures consistently fall below 50 degrees. The virus is easily transmitted and can cause serious illness.


West Nile is spread primarily through infected mosquitoes and typically after the insect has bitten an infected bird. Early symptoms include fever, headache, body aches and skin rash.


The virus arrived in the United States in 1999 and spread westward, reaching Ore­gon in 2004.


The health department suggested these preventive tips:


When outdoors, use repellents containing DEET or DEET-free alternatives, such as lemon eucalyptus oil and citronella.


Mosquitoes are most active from dusk to dawn. Use insect repellent and wear covered clothing, or stay indoors during this time.


Inspect your home for openings that mosquitoes could use to enter, and make sure all windows have protective screens.


Empty standing water, such as flower pots, buckets and barrels, where mosquitoes could breed.


Change water in pet dishes and bird baths weekly.

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