By Matt Youngfrau
MONTICELLO August 27, 2002 While there have been no human cases in Sullivan County, the first sign of the West Nile virus was found last Wednesday in a crow from Livingston Manor.
"The main thing is that this is the first positive case in two years [in Sullivan County]," commented Sullivan County Health and Family Services Commissioner Judith Maier. "There is no record of the West Nile virus in humans in this county. People just need to take the proper precautions."
Elsewhere, about half the country and part of Canada have been affected with cases of the virus, and there is fear that it will spread to the West Coast. So far, there have been 371 human cases and 16 deaths. The majority have been in Louisiana, where there have been 171 reported cases.
West Nile is spread through mosquitoes. Mild cases include such symptoms as a slight fever or headache. More severe cases include the rapid onset of high fever with head and body aches, tremors, and, in the rarer severe cases, paralysis and death.
Simple precautions can be taken to avoid the possibility of catching the virus. Mosquitoes breed in standing water, so it is advised to get rid of tires, tin cans, or anything water can collect in. Change the water in bird baths and pools frequently. When outside, wear clothing that will protect from bites.
For any concerns or to report suspicious animals, please contact Sullivan County's Public Health Department. They can be reached at 292-0100, extension 1.