Extension Review

Extension Review by Virginia Delvaux The West Nile Virus (WNV) has been in the news for the past few weeks, and Clay County has also experienced the virus in animals. So what is the West Nile Virus? The strain of WNV circulating in the United States causes significant mortality in exotic and native bird species, especially in the American crow. Dead birds serve as an early warning that the virus may be active in ones area and these deaths should be reported to the local health department.

Infected mosquitoes transmit WNV. Mosquitoes become infected after biting infected birds that serve as the primary host of the virus. Mosquitoes are capable of transmitting the virus 10 to 14 days after feeding on an infected bird, so bites after that time are infectious to both humans and animals.

Homeowners can effectively reduce the number of mosquitoes around their homes and neighborhoods by eliminating the standing water in which mosquitoes grow and breed. Even though your property may lack mosquito breeding sites, mosquitoes can travel two to three miles from their breeding site.

The following tips can help reduce your risk of being bitten by a mosquito: 1. Make sure windows and door screens are shut tight. 2. Use fluorescent lights instead of incandescent lights. 3. Stay indoors at dawn, dusk and in the early evening when mosquitoes are active. If you must go outdoors wear a long-sleeved shirt and long pants. 4. Apply insect repellents to exposed skin and clothing.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that repellents used on children contain no more than 10 percent DEET, the active ingredient in many mosquito repellents.

If you or a family member would like more information on WNV contact the Clay County Extension office and ask for the following publications: Deet as a Mosquito Repellent, #16 Just for Kids � West Nile Virus, and National Pest Alert West Nile Virus in North America.

The Clay County Extension Office and the County 4-H clubs will be sponsoring a Discovering 4-H night on Monday, Sept, 16 from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the 4-H Center in Vermillion. Parents and youth ages 8 to 19 are invited to come see what 4-H has to offer. An informational program will be presented at 7 p.m. The local 4-H club members will man hands on activities and educational displays.

Parents, if you are unable to attend but have a child that would like to join please contact the Extension office at 677-7111. The 2003 4-H year begins the first of October and signups will be completed at the local club level from now until the end of November.

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