YAKIMA, Wash. - The Yakima Health District has collected a magpie that has been tested positive for the West Nile Virus. According to the Washington State Department of Health, the magpie was collected last week near Union Gap and sent in for testing.
This is all part of a State Deperatment of Health monitoring program to detect and keep track of where the disease is active. The program has sent in nearly 300 dead birds and this is the first one to come up positive with the virus this season.
Simple measures can reduce the risk of exposure to mosquitoes that transmit the West Nile Virus, avoiding mosquito bites is the key:
Schedule outdoor activities away from dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active.
Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants when in mosquito infested areas.
Use mosquito repellents containing DEET, picaridin, or oil of lemon eucalyptus and follow the directions on the container.
Make sure screens on all doors and windows are working properly and have no holes large enough for mosquitos to travel through.
Get rid of old tires and other containers around your home where water can accumulate and serve as a breeding ground for mosquitoes.
The West Nile Virus is primarily a bird disease most often affecting crows, ravens, jays, and magpies. However, mosquitoes can become infected from a bird with the disease and transmit it to humans, horses and other hosts.
Four horses have already been tested positive for West Nile in Yakima County and one human case in Pierce County has been confirmed.