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West Nile Virus reported in Steuben County

BATH, N.Y. (18 NEWS) - With the first confirmed case of West Nile Virus ever reported in Steuben County, the county Public Health Department recommends residents take protective measures to avoid mosquito bites.

Steuben Public Health’s recommendation follows a confirmation a horse tested positive for West Nile Virus (WNV). The confirmation is the first case in a domestic animal or human ever reported in Steuben.

“It is important for people to take proper precautions against mosquitos for themselves and their animals in order to stay healthy. Not only are these bugs pesky, but they can sometimes pose a health risk, as we have seen by the positive horse in our county,” said Steuben Public Health Director, Darlene Smith.

WNV is spread to humans and animals by the bite of an infected mosquito. In humans, WNV may cause a mild illness but could also cause swelling of the brain or spinal cord. While chances of anyone becoming seriously ill are small, people over 50 years of age are at highest risk for severe illness.

Horses are more vulnerable to serious illness from WNV than dogs and cats, but there are vaccines available for horses to prevent WNV and another mosquito-borne disease, Eastern Equine Encephalitis.

Steuben Public Health urges animal owners to speak to their veterinarian about protecting their animals as soon as possible.

“Fight the bite” by following mosquito prevention methods:

  1. Emptying any sources of water on the property, such as tires, kiddie pools, ceramic pots and watering cans is the first step in preventing mosquito growth. 
  2. Change the water in birdbaths at least twice a week.
  3. Use insect repellent with DEET as directed.
  4. If possible, cover skin with long sleeves, pants, and socks when outdoors during active mosquito season, especially at dusk and dawn when mosquitos are most active.

For more information about protecting humans and animals from mosquito-borne diseases, contact Steuben Public Health at (607) 664-2438 or visiting their website.

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