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Health officials offer advice to prevent West Nile Virus


HUDSON—No cases of West Nile virus have occurred in Columbia County, but because the wet summer weather is mosquito friendly, the Columbia County Department of Health wants people to have the information they need to protect themselves against the virus.

   “Any standing water around the yard can provide a home for mosquitoes to breed. Mosquitoes can then enter houses through broken screens or unscreened windows or doors,” Ed Coons, public health sanitarian, said in a press release.

   Because mosquitoes spread West Nile Virus, protecting against mosquito bites is the best way to avoid the disease.
   Mosquitoes that can transmit West Nile Virus breed and lay their eggs in any stagnant water that hangs for more than four days. To reduce the mosquito population around homes and property, local health officials advise residents to take the following steps to reduce or eliminate standing water:
*Dispose of tin cans, plastic containers, ceramic pots or similar water-holding containers
*Drill drain holes in the bottoms of recycling containers that are kept outdoors
*Make sure that roof gutters drain properly, and clean clogged gutters in the spring and fall
*Turn over wading pools and wheelbarrows when not in use
*Change the water in bird baths twice a week
*Dispose of used tires. Call the local landfill or public works department to find out how to dispose of them properly
*Clean vegetation and debris from the edges of ponds
*Clean and properly chlorinate swimming pools, outdoor saunas and hot tubs
*Drain water from pool covers
*Use landscaping to eliminate standing water that collects on property
*Make sure windows and doors have screens in good condition.
   People can reduce their risk of being bitten by mosquitoes by:
*Minimizing outdoor activities between dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active
*Wear shoes and socks, long pants and a long-sleeved shirt when outdoors for long periods of time or when mosquitoes are most active
*Consider using mosquito repellent when outdoors. Follow label directions carefully.
   For more information or to report dead birds, particularly crows, call the Columbia County Health Department at (518) 828-3358 during regular business hours Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information on West Nile Virus, visit the New York State Department of Health’s web site at www.health.state.ny.us.


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