Charles Bishop urged farmers and the public to do more to control mosquitoes after two horses tested positive for the virus.
Bishop recommends residents remove standing water from old tires and farm equipment. Farmers should also vaccinate their horses.
So far this year, 82 dead birds in 17 counties have tested positive for the virus. That compares to 59 birds in 13 counties all of last year.
Mosquitoes can spread West Nile Virus to humans after contracting it from birds. Humans can develop encephalitis, or swelling of the brain, though few people experience any symptoms at all.
West Nile has killed 18 people along the East Coast since it was first detected in 1999. A Birmingham man died from the virus last year, the first and only death in Alabama.
wtvynews4.com Extended Web Coverage
West Nile virus Facts
How is the West Nile virus Spread?
Symptoms of the Virus
Source: www.vdh.state.va.us contributed to this report
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