Environmental Health gives a warning, but working to keep West Nile Virus threat in perspective
Buena Vista County Environmental Health will collect crows, cardinals and blue jays this year to test for West Nile Virus, according to Kim Johnson, director of the county department.
West Nile Virus is carried by mosquitoes and can cause an infection called West Nile Encephalitis - an inflammation of the brain, which can be caused by bacteria or viruses.
West Nile is transmitted when an infected mosquito bites a human or animal. Mosquitoes become infected when they feed on infected birds. Humans cannot be infected directly from birds, and West Nile Virus is not spread person to person.
The virus first appeared in Iowa last summer and rapidly spread across the state. Every county in Iowa has had positive tests of West Nile Virus being found there.
An individual is not likely to get sick from being bit by an infected mosquito. Even in areas where mosquitoes do carry the virus, less than 1 percent of those mosquitoes are infected. If the mosquito is infected, less than 1 percent of the people bitten and infected will get severely ill.
"The chance you will become severely ill from a mosquito bite is extremely small," Johnson said.
For those who are bitten by a West Nile-infected mosquito, 80 percent of people have no clinical symptoms, Johnson said.