West Nile Case

The Dale County Health Department has confirmed there are four cases of West Nile Virus in Ozark and one in Level Plains.

Health officials are warning residents to take precautions. They said this is not unusual.

The virus has been spreading this way since it was first discovered in 1999 in New York. Sam Phillips at Dale County's Health Department said people can contract the virus but it is very unlikely. However, he is encouraging everyone to take pre-cautions.

You have heard them before, but here they are again:

  • Limit outdoor exposure during dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are likely to bite.

  • Wear shoes and socks, long pants and a long sleeved shirt outdoors when mosquitoes are present.

  • Use mosquito repellent with DEET on exposed skin.

  • Repair holes and tears in screens so that mosquitoes won't be able to get through.

  • Eliminate stagnant water from around the house.

    Health department officials are urging people not to get in a panic but just be careful. If you have any questions contact your local county health department.

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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.

    • 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. Be sure repellent is safe for human skin.

    • Wash off repellent daily and reapply as needed.

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