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West Nile virus claims victim in valley


By Alex Bridges -- abridges@nvdaily.com

An adult in the area recently died from West Nile virus, state health officials report.

The Virginia Department of Health reported on its website Tuesday that the agency confirmed an adult in the northwestern region died recently from the disease. This marks the first death from the disease this year, according to the agency website. The site, which updates information on West Nile virus reports each week, did not indicate when the death occurred nor in which of the region's several health districts the person died

Lord Fairfax Health District Director Charles Devine on Wednesday morning confirmed the death occurred in the district, which lies within the northwest region. The district covers Clarke, Frederick, Page, Shenandoah and Warren counties and Winchester.

Devine would not release the age or gender of the victim.

"To protect the family's privacy we're simply releasing that it was an adult and in the Lord Fairfax Health District," Devine said.

Later that day Devine noted that the VDH allowed him to release that the victim is an "older adult."

As of Tuesday, the West Nile virus has been reported in nine people in the state: four in the northwest region, two in the northern region, two in the central and one in the southwest, according to the VDH. However the health department notes the numbers aren't unusual for the state, which reported nine cases in 2010. The department reported West Nile virus in one to five people each year from 2006 to 2010. The department reported one death each in 2010 and 2011.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that a mild winter and spring rains caused the mosquito population to grow early, which contributed to a faster nationwide spread of the disease than in years past, according to the health department.

Mosquitoes spread the disease to humans through bites. Health officials advise people can help prevent bites by using insect repellent containing an active ingredient registered with the Environmental Protection Agency. People should use repellent and wear long sleeves and pants at dusk or dawn when mosquitoes are most active, according to health officials. Screens on doors and windows helps keep mosquitoes out.

The insects breed in areas of standing water such as flower pots, bird baths, buckets and barrels. The department advises people to turn over containers that collect water and clean out roof gutters and downspout screens; remove old tires; eliminate standing water on flat roofs, boats or tarps. Keep children's wading pools empty when not in use.




10 Comments



This is scary stuff but please don't stop filling your birdbaths, just "disturb" or change the water every day or two (which should be done anyway) and that should prevent breeding. Also change your pet's water daily, (hopefully he/she lives inside with you most of the time).

Just like our Virginia Health Department....good for nothing....doing nothing.

Can anyone offer helpful hints for homeowners? Are there good tips for landscaping and grounds maintenance? For example, where I have put down black mulch I never encounter insects, mosquitoes, or weeds. Yet on the lawn area, there are swarms of mosquitoes. Is there a connection between the height and type of grasses and these pests? Do weeds attract mosquitoes?

Are there any plantings (perennials, annuals, shrubs, bushes, trees, etc.) that could act as mosquito repellents? Have heard that geraniums are good for keeping away pests.

Shouldn't the state do aerial spraying at the start of the mosquito breeding season? The state needs to do more than report infestations. It should take preventive action.

oh yeah everyone take it from diana. lord knows all wee needs is some emptry birdbaths everywhere. smh ppl these days

yep all we need is them spraying this crap over our houses. mosquito repellent = probably cancer...ha..ha. I already have had a low flying jet airplane putting out jet fluel, by the smell of it.

The district covers a pretty wide area. Too bad health authorities can't be a little more specific. So residents and visitors to the neighborhood might be able to, I don't know, make sure to apply some fresh bug repellent?

My thoughts from earlier reading the article Freburd. If they could only round it down to say a 20 or less radius. on the case. I don't think anyone needs to know a name on the case.

Chickens are a potential reservoir for West Nile Virus (WNV). Chickens are used as sentinels to detect for the presence of virus in regions susceptible to mosquitoes carrying the virus. Chicken and turkey are big business in this area.

Wow - everyone's upset at the VA DoH for what exactly? Because they didn't want to tell you EXACTLY where this person lived? Here's the thing - saltmarsh mosquitoes can have a territory over 100mi - and even regular mosquitoes can get caught up in storms (like that nice one last Sunday) and be taken far from their smaller 1-2mi range. So EVERYONE should be using repellent when outside and EVERYONE should be on the lookout for standing water left over from storms and dumping it, or like Diana mentioned - replace it daily.

What about the countless small ponds, puddles and river and stream backwaters in the region? Can they be dumped and replaced daily?



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