County Officials Warn Of West Nile Threat

By: Kevin Doonan

CHENANGO COUNTY – Although no positive tests for the West Nile virus have occurred within the county, local health authorities caution residents to be aware of the potential for the virus following positive testing in nearby counties.

Additional evidence of West Nile virus was discovered in neighboring Onondaga County, according to a press release from the Onondaga County Health Department issued yesterday. Samples taken from a mosquito pool within the City of Syracuse tested positive for the potentially deadly virus. Tests in nearby Oswego County have also came back positive for the virus.

According to a New York State website, the virus spreads through birds and mosquitos. Birds are especially effective carriers of the virus as they can travel great distances and develop high concentrations in their blood. Infected birds are subsequently bitten by mosquitos which can in turn bite and infect humans as well as other mammals, especially horses.

Although the virus is potentially deadly, only a small portion of those who are bitten will develop symptoms. However, there are no available vaccines or medications to treat the virus. Unlike birds, mammals who have been infected can not spread it further and are refered to as a deadend for the virus.

No cases of the West Nile virus have been reported in Chenango County this year. And though there is cause for a heightened state of concern, county health authorities caution county residents to be aware of the potential for the virus.

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