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Published: Saturday, 8/3/2002

West Nile virus shows up in mosquitoes in Toledo area

There haven't been any reported human cases of West Nile virus so far in Ohio or Michigan - but the virus is clearly present here.

Some dead crows and blue jays have been testing positive for the disease in both states for the last year. Ten dead crows or blue jays have tested positive so far this year in Lucas County, and 12 tested positive last year.

This week, state health officials reported that West Nile virus has been confirmed in samples of mosquitoes captured in Lucas, Allen, Hancock, and Huron counties. The testing of mosquitoes is considered a more accurate way of pinpointing West Nile virus hot spots because mosquitoes don't travel as far as birds.

Toledo Area Sanitary District employees have stepped up their annual spraying campaign this year, targeting areas where mosquitoes or dead birds turn up.

Konni Sutfield, who oversees West Nile virus surveillance efforts for the local health department, said the discovery of mosquitoes with the virus shouldn't alarm people. He said he can't predict what percentage of the entire population of mosquitoes might be infected. The public should continue to use mosquito repellant, he said.

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