West Nile Strikes Again in Kentucky

Two more Kentuckians have confirmed cases of West Nile Encephalitis-- that's the more serious version of the disease.

One of the cases has been reported in Barren County. Another has been reported in Hart County.

Both victims are recovering at home. This brings the total number of West Nile cases in Kentucky to four.

State health officials continue to urge Kentucky residents to take precautions against infection.

Some basic tips include:

  • Drain and remove any container that could hold water-- old tires, toys and flowerpots. Anywhere water collects may be a potential breeding place for mosquitoes.

  • Change water every week in birdbaths, wading pools, watering troughs and pet bowls. Fill in puddles.

  • Check gutters to make sure they are clean and draining.

  • Repair or replace window and door screens to keep bugs out.

  • Keep ponds free of vegetation and stock with fish.

  • Dress appropriately-- wear light-colored long sleeves and pants and a hat when you plan to be out at dawn and dusk.

  • Use mosquito repellant and carefully follow directions. Use repellent with DEET and note special directions for young children.

  • Some property owners may want to use larvacide in bodies of water such as ponds. These agents prevent the mosquitoes from hatching.

    And for comprehensive listings for positive birds, horses and mosquito pools by county, log on to the Department for Public Health Web site at www.chs.ky.gov

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    West Nile virus Facts

    • The West Nile virus is a mosquito-borne virus that can cause encephalitis (an inflammation of the brain) or meningitis (inflammation of the lining of the brain and spinal cord) in humans and other animals.

    • The virus is named after the West Nile region of Uganda where it was first isolated in1937.

    • The virus appeared for the first time in the United States during a 1999 outbreak in New York that killed seven people.

    How is the West Nile virus Spread?

    • The virus is spread to humans, birds and other animals through the bite of an infected mosquito.

    • A mosquito becomes infected by biting a bird that is carrying the virus.

    • West Nile virus is not spread from person to person, and no evidence indicates the virus can be spread directly from birds to humans.

    • Only a small population of mosquitoes are likely to be infected and most people bitten by an infected mosquito do not become sick.

    • 1 in 300 people bitten by an infected mosquito get sick.

    • 1 in 100-150 who get sick become seriously ill.

    • 3 to 15 percent of those seriously ill die.

    Symptoms of the Virus

    • The symptoms generally appear about 3 to 6 days after exposure. People over the age of 50 are at a greater risk of severe illness.

    • Milder symptoms include: Slight fever, headache, body aches, swollen glands and/or sometimes a skin rash.

    • Severe symptoms include: High fever, intense headache, stiff neck, and/or confusion.

    Protecting Yourself

    • Control mosquitoes from breeding around your home. Remove standing water from any item or area that can hold water. Standing water is a perfect breeding place for mosquitoes.

    • Wear long and light colored clothing.

    • Use insect repellent products with no ore than 20-30 percent DEET for adults and less than 10 percent for children.

    • Spray repellent on your hands and then apply to your face; spray on clothing, as well. Be sure repellent is safe for human skin and clothing.

    • Wash off repellent daily and reapply as needed.

    • Stay inside at dawn and dusk because that is when mosquitoes are most active.

    Source: www.vdh.state.va.us contributed to this report