Summertime means more outdoor activities and with those activities; mosquito bites. Mosquito bites can be more than just itchy and annoying; they can cause you to become sick. Mosquitos can carry West Nile virus (WNV). West Nile virus can be a serious, even fatal, illness. It can affect people, horses, certain types of birds, and other animals. In Washington, the first cases of people becoming ill from West Nile virus were reported in 2006 and Washington State Department of Health announced this week that mosquito samples in Franklin County have tested positive for West Nile virus. The most effective way to avoid West Nile virus disease is to prevent mosquito bites.
Reduce Mosquito Bites
Make sure windows and doors are "bug tight." Repair or replace screens.
Stay indoors from dusk to dawn, if possible, when mosquitoes are the most active.
Wear a long sleeve shirt, long pants, and a hat when going into mosquito-infested areas, such as wetlands or woods, or if you work outdoors on a regular basis.
Use mosquito repellent when necessary. Read the label and carefully follow instructions. Take special care when using repellent on children.
Don't Give Mosquitoes a Home
Empty anything that holds standing water – old tires, buckets, plastic covers, and toys.
Change water in your birdbaths, fountains, wading pools and animal troughs at least twice week.
Make sure roof gutters drain properly and clean clogged gutters in the spring and fall.
Fix leaky outdoor faucets and sprinklers.
In addition, West Nile virus infects certain wild birds. Particular birds – crows, jays, ravens, magpies, hawks and owls – tend to become sick and die. Increasing numbers of dead birds may be an indication of West Nile virus in your community. You can help by reporting dead crows and other birds by calling the Cowlitz County Health Department, 360-414-5599, or using the Washington State online dead bird reporting form . To report mosquito concerns, contact the Cowlitz Mosquito Control District hotline at 360-425-5658.