TOWN OF GREIG, N.Y. (WWTI) – A horse in the Lewis County town of Greig has tested positive for the West Nile Virus in a press release from Lewis County Public Health announced on Friday, July 28.
It’s the first confirmed case over 10 years that an animal or a human has tested positive for the virus. West Nile Virus is a serious, sometimes fatal illness, that’s often spread by the bite of infected mosquitoes. The recent hot and humid weather often creates ideal conditions for mosquito populations to multiply quickly.
The virus may cause fever, headache and body aches, nausea, and occasionally a skin rash and swollen lymph glands. Severe infection may lead to encephalitis (inflammation of the brain), meningitis (inflammation of the lining of the brain and spinal cord), coma, or death. While chances of anyone becoming seriously ill are small, people over 50 years of age are at the highest risk for severe illness.
There is no human vaccine for the virus and Lewis County Public is urging people to take precautions to prevent insect bites. Here are some of the steps.
- Emptying any sources of water on the property, such as tires, kiddie pools, ceramic pots, watering cans and wheelbarrows.
- Changing the water in birdbaths and animal troughs at least twice a week.
- Cleaning and chlorinating swimming pools, outdoor saunas and hot tubs.
- Using insect repellent that contains DEET, picaridin or oil of lemon eucalyptus according to package instructions.
- If possible, covering skin with long sleeves, pants, and socks when outdoors during active mosquito season, especially at dusk and dawn which is the peak mosquito biting time.
- Repairing or replacing all window and door screens to keep mosquitoes outside.
- Clearing roof gutters, removing leaf debris from yards and gardens, and cleaning vegetation and debris from the edge of ponds.
For more information, call Lewis County Public Health at 315-376-5453 or visit their website at lewiscountypublichealth.com.