Ohio Health Officials Begin WNV Surveillance Season

According to the online edition of the Bucyrus Telegraph Forum (www.bucyrustelegraphforum.com), the Ohio Department of Health began accepting dead bird submissions today (April 17) from local health departments to screen for West Nile virus (WNV).

West Nile virus is spread via bites from infected mosquitoes. The mosquitoes feed on birds, which become amplifiers of the virus. (Therefore, birds are good sentinels for the virus.) The virus particles circulate and multiply in birds, and uninfected mosquitoes feed on the birds and become infected. This bird-mosquito cycle continues, and eventually it spills over when mosquitoes carrying the virus bite and infect horses, humans, and other mammals.

"Testing is open to all song birds and crows," said the article. "Once two positive birds are found in the same county, the bird testing will stop and other preventative measures will begin."

County residents should continue to report dead birds to their local health departments, regardless of whether submissions are still being accepted from those counties. "Specifically, the health district needs to know the type of bird found and the location. Residents in Bucyrus and rural Crawford County General Health District at 419/562-5871. Residents in Galion City and Crestline City should contact the Galion City Health Department at 419/468-1075," said the article. (Editor's note: Ohio residents can find contact information for their local health districts here.)

The Telegraph Forum recommended that residents wear gloves or use some other method to pick up dead birds to keep from directly touching them. Birds should be double-bagged in plastic and placed on ice to avoid decomposition (decomposed birds cannot be submitted).

Residents should eliminate areas of standing water or objects collecting water that serve as breeding sites for mosquitoes and use products such as "mosquito dunks" to kill larvae in the water.

About the Author

Stephanie L. Church, Editor-in-Chief

Stephanie L. Church, Editor-in-Chief, received a B.A. in Journalism and Equestrian Studies from Averett College in Danville, Virginia. A Pony Club and 4-H graduate, her background is in eventing, and she is schooling her recently retired Thoroughbred racehorse, Happy, toward a career in that discipline. She also enjoys traveling, photography, cycling, and cooking in her free time.

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