Hunters advised how to avoid West Nile virus


Mar 11, 2001
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Howard: State advises hunters on avoiding West Nile virus

By Willie Howard, Palm Beach Post Staff Writer.

Thursday, September 27, 2001

The state Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and the Department of Health are urging hunters to take precautions to avoid the West Nile virus when handling game birds.

Health officials believe the risk of contracting the virus from harvested game birds is low, and there is no evidence a person can be infected by handling an infected bird. Still, officials say much remains to be learned about the disease.

Since 1999, more than 70 species of birds have tested positive for the virus in the United States, including the mourning dove, northern bobwhite quail, wild turkey and mallard duck. Game birds are considered less susceptible to the virus than crows and blue jays.

Officials recommend that bird hunters take the following precautions:

Wear rubber gloves when handling and cleaning birds.

Clean birds outdoors, not in a confined space.

Do not harvest sick or slow-moving birds.

Cook meats thoroughly.

Mosquitoes transmit the virus. Hunters and other outdoor enthusiasts should take extra precautions to avoid mosquito bites by:

Staying indoors at dawn and dusk, when mosquitoes are most active.

Wearing long pants, long-sleeved shirts, gloves and head nets.

Using a repellent containing 35 percent DEET on skin and clothing. (Use caution when applying DEET repellent to skin, especially the hands of children.)

Thirty-six of Florida's 67 counties, from Ocala to Pensacola but including Monroe County (Keys), are under a health alert for the virus, which can be fatal. Babies and the elderly are most at risk.

A dead bird (grackle) infected with the West Nile virus was found in Polk County on Aug. 9.

Anyone who finds a dead or sick bird should call their county health department. For more information on West Nile virus, visit the state Department of Health Web site at or call the disease outbreak hot line at (888) 880-5782.


Mar 12, 2001
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The hunt is on in O.C. for the West Nile virus
Local agency prepares for mosquito-borne disease's arrival.

June 10, 2002

The Orange County Register

The West Nile virus killed seven people and sickened 62 others in an East Coast outbreak three years ago. Eleven more have died in the United States since. Now it is marching west and could arrive in Orange County as soon as this year.

An Orange County agency that tracks animal-borne diseases says it is ready for the virus's arrival. Scientists have devised a battery of tests to catch it in the act and track it.

Our best guardians against the virus: sparrows and finches, the same small birds that orbit bird feeders and hop around on the lawn. They will exhibit symptoms first when the virus is carried here, likely by birds flying in from infected areas.

The birds are cooperating with virus hunters, allowing themselves to be periodically bled in exchange for all the seeds they can eat. Their blood is later analyzed for West Nile.

The main message from the experts is, "Don't panic." The elderly and those with compromised immune systems are at highest risk for severe symptoms; others who are infected won't even get sick or, at most, will experience something that feels a lot like the flu.

And there are precautions that everyone can take to keep the virus at bay.


Well-known member
Feb 9, 2002
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This is no joke guys!  I know one of those poeple in the statistics.  A U.K. RAF "wizzo" who contracted it last year.  ...Tough break for him as it ended his flying career (from what I understand it caused epileptic siezures).  It pays to keep you wits about you when out and about in the back country...

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