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Ways to avoid West Nile virus

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The Ellis County Press

ENNIS - Last week after two residents and two birds were confirmed to have the West Nile Virus in Ellis County the Texas Department of Health offered the following preventive measures to avoid getting West Nile Virus.

'Remember the 4 Ds: drain, dress, DEET and dusk/dawn.'

1. To reduce mosquito breeding grounds, drain water around buildings, bird baths, open containers, flower pots, old tires, pet dishes, rain gutters and buckets.

2. Wear pants and long sleeves when outside, but avoid becoming too hot.

3. Apply an insect repellent containing DEET (N,N-diethyl-m-toluamide) to exposed skin and to clothing when outdoors.

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

'Not every mosquito bite causes illness. Very few mosquitoes carry the virus, and less than one percent of the bites from mosquitoes that do have the virus actually cause serious illness,' Texas Department of Health officials said.

According to Jan Buck, a Texas Department of Health public health technician, the virus is spread by mosquitoes after they have bitten an infected bird. It can not be spread by touching a dead bird, another animal or person. Health officials do advise against handling a dead bird for general sanitary reasons.

The health department has set up a website and toll-free telephone number in English and Spanish to to answer the public's questions concerning dead bird testing, mosquito surveillance and other West Nile virus question, 1-888-883-9997 or www.tdh.state.tx.us.

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