Health Department issues advisory after 2 horses infected with West Nile Virus

Posted 17 September 2017 at 10:09 pm

By Nola Goodrich-Kresse, Health Educator and Public Information Officer for Orleans County Health Department

Although we are moving into fall, conditions are still conducive for mosquitoes. Recent reports of confirmed positive pools of West Nile Virus (WNV) mosquitoes have been reported across the region including two unvaccinated horses in Orleans County which acquired West Nile Virus. The horses had not been outside of the county. Both are doing well and recovering.

Take action

“You can prevent WNV and other mosquito borne diseases by properly using insect repellant, wearing long sleeves and pants when practical, screening windows and draining standing water,” stated Paul Pettit, Director of the Genesee and Orleans County Health Departments.

Typically the mosquitoes that transmit WNV breed in very small and dirty pools of water (as opposed to ponds and lakes).  Common breeding sites include old tires, roof rain gutters, bird baths, wheelbarrows, and any other item that will hold small amounts of water for several days. Make sure all areas where there is standing water are drained frequently or removed to limit mosquito breeding areas.

“Mosquitoes are most active at dusk and dawn, try to minimize exposure by staying indoors during these hours or making sure you are properly using an effective insect repellant,” reminded Pettit.

Choose an effective insect repellant

The CDC recommends a variety of effective products to avoid mosquito bites.  Check the label for one of the following active ingredients: DEET, Picaridin, IR 3535 and oil of lemon eucalyptus.

Most pediatricians recommend using products with 30 percent or less of these ingredients on children. Once you’ve bought an insect repellent, read the instructions carefully and use it whenever you and your children are outdoors. Put a few bottles or packets of repellent anywhere you might need them – in the car, by the door, in your bag. Make it easy so you’ll remember.

Most individuals, 70 to 80 percent, who contract WNV do not develop any symptoms. Those who do develop symptoms, about 1 in 5, will experience a fever, headache, body aches, joint pains, vomiting, diarrhea or rash for several weeks or months. In rare cases, less than 1 percent, experience serious neurological illness, such as encephalitis or meningitis (inflammation of the brain or surrounding tissues). If you are experiencing any of these symptoms or have specific concerns about WNV, talk with your healthcare provider.

For more information about vector-borne diseases (transmitted by mosquitoes, ticks, and fleas), click here.

If you have additional questions or concerns about flooding health risks contact:

  • Orleans County Health Department at: 589-3278 or check out our website by clicking here. Visit Facebook and Twitter: the user name for both is OrleansCoHealth.
  • Genesee County Health Department at: 344-2580 ext. 5555 or visit their website by clicking here. Visit Facebook at Genesee County Health Department and Twitter at GeneseeCoHealthDept.