West Nile found in Twin Cities, residents urged to be cautious

Dead birds, plenty of mosquitoes indicate West Nile virus will stick around awhile

Because the species of mosquito found carrying the virus doesn't normally bite humans, the risk of the public becoming infected is low, Leominster Health Director Christopher Knuth said.

There were nine pools that tested positive for West Nile virus in both Greenville and Beaufort counties.

According to CDC, most people (70-80 percent) infected with WNV show no symptoms at all. Some of the common symptoms related to the illness are fever, headache, nausea and muscle ache.

SCDHEC says most people infected with West Nile virus have no symptoms. Those samples are sent to the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) to be tested for West Nile virus.

The symptoms of neurological illness can include headache, high fever, neck stiffness, disorientation, coma, tremors, seizures or paralysis. The virus can lead to encephalitis or meningitis, life-threatening swelling of the brain. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 44,000 people have been diagnosed with West Nile virus disease since 1999.

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People over 50 and those with weak immune systems are most at risk.

Dr. Soule said he was not concerned that a major outbreak of the disease would occur in Northern New York. In a very small number of cases, West Nile virus has been spread through blood transfusions; organ transplants; and from mother to baby during pregnancy, delivery or breastfeeding.

"You can't contract it from being around or touching someone or an animal, like your pet or horse, who has the disease", he said. As a result, the municipality has been larviciding storm water catch basins for many years to reduce mosquito populations and provide extra protection for the public.

Their illness onsets range from August 6-11, and all have been hospitalized with neurologic disease. The CDC said that West Nile virus has been recorded in all states in the continental United States and Canada.

Oneida County Community Health Specialist Corie Zelazoski says besides the recent horse infection, a bird was confirmed positive earlier this month.

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