A bird found dead in Eugene has tested positive for West Nile Virus. This is the first case reported in Lane County in 2016.
West Nile is transmitted by mosquitoes. It’s deadly to birds and horses.
Lane County Chief Public Health Officer Patrick Luedtke says 80 percent of people can get West Nile and not even know it. Others get something resembling the flu.
Luedtke: “Only a tiny percentage of people get the severe infection within the nervous system, we call it neuro-invasive disease. Roughly 1 in 250 people will get that, but it can be very serious.”
Luedtke says to prevent mosquito bites by wearing repellent, long sleeves and pants, putting screens on windows, and not having any amount of standing water around the home. There is no human vaccine for West Nile Virus.
According to Washington State health officials, a 70-year old woman in Benton County has died of West Nile Virus. This is the first reported death from the disease in the state this year.
Dr. Luedtke says so far no mosquitoes carrying the Zika virus have been found in Oregon. They have been detected in southern California. “We have mosquito surveillance going on in counties that border California to see if the mosquitos are making their way north and getting into Jackson and Josephine Counties." He says, "They’re different mosquitoes. We don’t have them in Oregon. And, just because we have West Nile doesn’t mean we’re going to get Zika next week.”
The bugs known to carry West Nile tend to bite in the early morning and at dusk.