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Birds test positive for virus in Lawrence Co.



Published: Wed, August 14, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



County officials are waiting for test results on eight other dead birds.

By LAURE CIOFFI

VINDICATOR NEW CASTLE BUREAU

NEW CASTLE, Pa. -- Health officials have confirmed that two more dead birds found in Lawrence County were infected with the sometimes lethal West Nile virus.

A dead blue jay found in Union Township and a dead crow found in New Wilmington were confirmed Tuesday to have the disease, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Health.

The disease can be deadly to older adults and those with weakened immune systems. It is transmitted to humans through infected mosquitoes.

So far, no mosquitos with the disease have been found in Lawrence County, but testing of mosquitoes in the areas where the dead, infected birds were found will be increased, said Janice Alberico, director of the Lawrence County Penn State Extension Office, the agency handling the county's mosquito testing.

Alberico said county officials are still waiting for test results on eight other dead birds found throughout the county.

Two other dead birds were confirmed to have the West Nile virus. The first was found in New Castle and tested positive July 31, and the other one, found in Neshannock Township, tested positive about a week later.

Preventive steps

Health officials remind residents to eliminate all standing water to help keep the mosquito population down and to wear long-sleeved shirts and pants or use mosquito repellent containing DEET to help prevent mosquito bites.

Anyone feeling ill should contact their doctor. Mild cases of West Nile virus include body aches, skin rashes, fever and headaches. More-severe cases can cause disorientation, neck stiffness, tremors and possibly coma.




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