DOVER, Del.- Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control officials say a dead crow found in the Newark area has tested positive for the West Nile virus, the first reported case of the disease in the state this year.
DNREC Mosquito Control Section Administrator Dr. William Meredith said the finding is not a cause for alarm because the mosquito-borne disease has been found in the state every year since 2001. However, Meredith added that "it is a good reminder to take common-sense precautions against mosquito bites." He recommends wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants when outdoors in mosquito-prone areas, applying insect repellent containing 10-30 percent DEET in accordance with all label instructions, and avoiding mosquito-infested areas or times of peak mosquito activity around dusk, dawn or throughout the evening.
In addition, to reduce mosquito-breeding, Meredith said that people should drain or remove items from their yards that collect water, such as buckets, birdbaths, rain barrels, old tires, flower pot liners, depressions in tarps covering boats, clogged rain gutters, and unused swimming pools.
Meredith said Mosquito Control is increasing mosquito surveillance and monitoring activities in the Newark area.
Peak activity for the virus in the mid-Atlantic region typically occurs from the first week in August through mid-October.
Sick or dead wild birds for the species of interest (crows, blue jays, cardinals, robins, hawks and owls) in monitoring for West Nile virus can be reported to the Mosquito Control Section from Monday through Friday between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. by calling the Glasgow Office, serving New Castle and northern Kent counties north of Dover, at (302) 836-2555, or the Milford Office, serving Sussex and southern Kent counties south of Dover, at (302) 422-1512.
Callers can leave a message after business hours or during weekends or holidays, including name, phone number, address and a brief message about the finding. However, the public should be aware that birds reported more than 24 hours before Mosquito Control can review them may be too deteriorated for virus testing.
The Mosquito Control phone numbers above should also be used for citizens to report intolerable numbers of biting mosquitoes. The section uses this information to help determine when and where to provide control services.
For more information about mosquito biology/ecology and mosquito control, contact the Mosquito Control Section's Dover office at (302) 739-9917.
For more information about West Nile virus in humans and related medical issues, contact the Division of Public Health at 888-295-5156.
For more information about West Nile virus in horses and equine vaccines, contact the Department of Agriculture at (302) 698-4500 or 800-282-8685 (toll-free, Delaware only).
Tri-State Bird Rescue is a non-profit facility in Newark that treats and rehabilitates sick and injured wild birds. For more information, contact Tri-State at (302) 737-9543 or visit www.tristatebird.org.
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