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DHS news release

2005, 28, Julo


Contact : Bonnie Widerburg (503) 731-4180


Technical Contacts : Emilio DeBess, DHS (503) 731-4024


Bird with West Nile Virus detected in Jackson County



Analyses in a crow found dead in the city of Medford tested positive for West Nile virus (WNV), today reported public health officials and the Jackson County Department of Human Services (DHS) Oregon . The confirmation came on July 28, 2005, after the analyzes performed in the Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory at Oregon State University (OSU).


This is the first sign of West Nile Virus in Oregon this year, said Dr. Emilio DeBess, public health veterinarian for DHS.


"This is the first indication that the West Nile Virus is present in the Medford area," said Bess. "The people of Oregon should begin to protect themselves from mosquito bites, because the West Nile Virus has been established in our state."


DeBess recommends five key prevention measures:

Ensure that doors and windows wire mesh (net) is firmly seated. Repair or replace screens that have tears or holes.

  • Wear long pants, long sleeve shirts and other protective clothing when you are outdoors.
  • Eliminate all sources of standing water that can provide mosquito breeding such as clogged gutters, birdbaths and old tires.
  • Avoid playing or working outdoors at dawn and dusk, which are times when mosquitoes are most active.
  • Use repellent, preferably one containing DEET, Picaridin or oil of lemon eucalyptus, following label instructions to the letter. Never apply DEET directly to children, or put it in the hands of children. Apply repellent first to their own hands and then children. Do not use oil of lemon eucalyptus on children under three years.


The first time I was informed of the presence of West Nile Virus in Oregon was last year. DeBess said that in most states there was a significantly higher number of cases in the second year, as the virus is spread to susceptible birds statewide.


In 2004, Oregon reported infections of West Nile Virus in five people, 23 birds and 32 horses.


DHS has implemented an active surveillance program for testing in birds, chickens and mosquitoes to detect the presence of WNV. In addition, it is recommended to physicians and other providers of health care analysis in patients with neurological symptoms compatible with West Nile, according DeBess.


DHS has set up a toll-free on West Nile Virus. People can call (866) 703-4636 from anywhere in the state and recorded information in English and Spanish.