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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Tuesday, April 25, 2006
Dr. Diana Yu,  Thurston  County  Health Officer, 360-786-5581 X-16951
Dr. Bob Gilpin,  Thurston  County  Veterinarian Coordinator, 360-943-1566
Darrell Cochran, Senior Environmental Health Specialist, 360-754-3355 x 7524

Residents Urged to Take  West Nile Virus Precautions

​OLYMPIA – Springtime means mosquito season has returned, which could also mean the arrival of West Nile virus in Washington State .  Mosquitoes are carriers of the infection and can transfer it to some birds, humans and horses.   Thurston County residents are urged to take some simple steps to protect themselves and their horses.

Horse owners can obtain shots to keep their animals from getting the infection.  Thurston County Veterinarian Coordinator Dr. Bob Gilpin says, "If an animal is being inoculated for the first time, a series of two shots, three to six weeks apart is needed. If the horse was previously vaccinated a booster shot is necessary."  Horse owners can get more information and the shots by contacting their private veterinarian. 

About 75 suspected dead birds were collected in Thurston County last year and were sent off for testing.  None tested positive for West Nile virus.  A similar testing program for crows and jays is getting this spring.

People should also take some precautions to avoid contracting West Nile virus.  Steps include-

  • Wearing long sleeved shirts and long pants while outside.
  • Avoiding areas where mosquitoes are present.
  • Using a "DEET" based insect repellent, according to the package instructions, when contact with mosquitoes is unavoidable.
  • Limiting outdoor activities at dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are more active.
  • Repairing and using window and door screens.

Homeowners can also take steps to reduce mosquito habitat around the home by cleaning standing water out of their rain gutters, removing used tires or open containers outside where water collects in them and by cleaning out bird baths once a week.

Those who want more information on West Nile virus can visit these websites-

County Commissioners:

Carolina Mejia
District 1

Gary Edwards
District 2

Tye Menser
District 3