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West Nile Virus found in mosquitoes collected near Central Point

The West Nile Virus has been detected in mosquitoes collected a week ago northeast of Central Point.

This is the third consecutive year and seventh year since 2005 that the virus has been detected in Jackson County. 

The presence of the virus was confirmed by the Oregon State University Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory in Corvallis, according to a press release from Jackson County Health and Human Services. 

The county's Vector Control District sets 32 adult mosquito traps baited with dry ice throughout the county weekly. Specimens are then divided by species, pooled into groups of 10-50, and sent to the OSU lab for testing, the release said.

The Vector Control District plans to increase surveillance because of the findings and officials are asking for the public's help. Anyone who notices sick or dead birds such as crows, ravens, jays and robins should call 541-826-2199 so biologists can pick them up for testing.

In the release, health officials said most people infected with the virus don't become sick. Mild flu-like symptoms, including fever, headache, body aches, swollen lymph glands or rash, are sometimes reported. The virus also can cause inflammation of the brain. Anyone affected by a severe headache should seek medical treatment.

The last known human case of West Nile Virus in Jackson County was reported in 2005, the release said. Five additional Oregon counties — Malheur, Baker, Klamath, Umatilla and Union — have also reported the virus' presence, the release said.

Residents are encouraged to take extra precautions to reduce exposure to mosquito bites. Standing water should be eliminated wherever possible, as it can be a breeding ground for the bugs after just seven days. Spots such as buckets, pool covers, clogged rain gutters, flooded fields and water troughs are common places for water to collect.

Mosquitoes are most active at dawn and dusk. Those venturing outside, especially during those times, should wear long-sleeved shirts and pants in mosquito-infested areas. Repellents containing DEET, oil of lemon, eucalyptus or picaridin are the most effective, health officials said. In addition, screen doors and windows should fit tightly.

Reach reporter Sam Wheeler at 541-776-4471 or swheeler@mailtribune.com. Follow him at www.twitter.com/swhlr.