Oregon Public Health workers said some mosquitoes found near Medford have tested positive for West Nile virus.
The insects were found in a testing site near Talent along Bear Creek, just south of Medford. While no one in Oregon has been infected with the virus yet, health workers are now doing what they can to prevent an outbreak.
Experts said the U.S. is seeing the biggest spike in West Nile virus since 2004. A recent outbreak in Texas is being blamed for the deaths of 16 people. Hundreds of cases of the virus have also been reported.
In Oregon, mosquito experts in Jackson County are now working on getting rid of the insects in the area along Bear Creek.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said while West Nile virus activity is a little higher this year, it will not know the full impact until the summer is over. Workers do not know what is causing the increase either, although some wonder if the mild winter followed by an early arrival of spring weather along with warmer temperatures during the summer are factors.
There is no treatment or vaccine for West Nile, but health workers said there are things people can do to protect themselves. Anyone planning to be outside is advised to wear long sleeves, especially in the dawn and dusk hours when mosquitoes are most active. Workers also suggest getting rid of any standing water, like in bird baths and watering troughs, since it does attract mosquitoes. Another tip is to make sure all screen doors and windows fit tightly to keep mosquitoes outside.
For more information on West Nile virus, go to the Oregon Health Authority website.
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