More West Nile

By: Amy Gleason
By: Amy Gleason

Wanda and Charles Madison found an unwelcome visitor.

"It was about 1 p.m.," said Wanda Madison. "We were going to the doctor and then when he went out to get in the car he found a little bird dead on the seat."

Just moments before, the Madison's had heard the news of the first case of West Nile found in the Shenandoah Valley.

"It came so soon after that, I said we are not touching that bird," added Madison.

She put on her gloves, double bagged the bird and put it on ice. Then she rushed it to the health department.

She got good news, her bird isn't the right type. West Nile typically only effects larger birds like crows, falcons, owls and blue jays.

Wanda was glad to find out she didn't have to worry.

"I've read things in the paper and seen things on the news that it is dangerous if a human being catches it. If it kills birds, it has to be something not too good," said Madison.

That's why local family physicians are keeping their eye out for cases.

"Any time people come in with flu like symptoms or high fevers that we can't explain, then of course given the current outbreak, we need to consider the West Nile Virus as a possibility," said Dr. Michael Syptak of Harrisonburg Family Practice Associates.

Dr. Syptak says to be on alert if your symptoms don't feel like an ordinary cold and if you've been exposed to mosquitoes.

"Really there isn't a real treatment for it. You treat it symptomatically like you would most viruses. Control the fever, make the person feel comfortable," added Syptak.

He says it's key to not blow things out of proportion. He says to stay tuned to the news and pay attention to health department updates.

So far, human cases have been found in Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas, Illinois, Alabama and Washington, DC.


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