Battle against West Nile virus

Mosquito season is starting and authorities are once again asking for the public's help in the battle against the &to=http:// ' target=_blank>West Nile virus.

Both West Nile and La Crosse Encephalitis can be spread to people by the bite of an infected &to=http:// ' target=_blank>mosquito. Mosquitoes are infected when they feed on birds or horses carrying the disease. The diseases cannot be spread by person-to-person contact.

Symptoms include fever, headache, body aches, fatigue, confusion, weakness, nausea, vomiting and stiff neck. In severe cases, neurological damage may be permanent. Approximately 80 percent of those infected experience no symptoms, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. People older than 50 are most susceptible to infection, informs Newsandsentinel.

According to the Herald Net, dead birds infected with the virus are often found about two weeks before human cases are reported, Young said. West Nile virus primarily is a bird disease. Mosquitoes become infected by biting infected birds, then pass the virus to uninfected birds, humans and horses, according to the state Health Department. Crows, ravens and jays are tested for the virus because they are known to die from it.

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