Farm Bureau urges Californians to be vigilant against West Nile virus
» July 22, 2004 «
The spread of West Nile virus in California poses a health concern for people and a particular threat to horses. Because mosquitoes spread the disease, the California Farm Bureau Federation urges Californians to reduce their exposure to mosquitoes and to help reduce mosquito populations.
"People should be vigilant about controlling mosquitoes," said CFBF President Bill Pauli. "Health authorities say that most people who become infected with West Nile virus will have no symptoms and some will have mild, flu-like symptoms. But because the virus can be fatal, we need to do what we can to protect ourselves."
Public health officials say people can protect themselves from West Nile virus and other mosquito-borne illnesses by taking steps including:
- Avoid being outside when mosquitoes are active-dawn and dusk.
- Wear protective clothing outside, such as long pants and long-sleeved shirts.
- Use insect repellent containing DEET, following label instructions.
- Eliminate standing water that provides mosquitoes with breeding grounds.
"The state of California offers a property maintenance checklist for reducing mosquito populations," said Elisa Noble, CFBF director of rural health and safety. "It encourages people to eliminate mosquito breeding areas from livestock pens, keep fresh water in troughs, stock mosquito-eating fish in ponds and take other steps to discourage mosquito breeding."
Horses are particularly vulnerable to West Nile virus. But a vaccination for horses is available. Veterinarians, government agencies and horse associations all encourage horse owners to have their animals vaccinated.
"Many horse owners have already vaccinated their animals," said Ria de Grassi, CFBF director of animal health and welfare. "If you own a horse and have not yet had it vaccinated, please don't hesitate. Call your veterinarian without delay."
The CFBF Web site offers a resource page with information about how to prevent West Nile virus and other mosquito-borne diseases. It is available from the CFBF home page at www.cfbf.com
Permission for use is granted, however, credit must be made to the California Farm Bureau Federation when reprinting this item.Top