The West Nile Virus has been detected in three more West Virginia counties.
An official with the state Department of Health and Human Resources says birds in Marion, Berkeley and Hardy counties have tested positive for the disease.
That brings the number of counties reporting West Nile to 20.
The others are: Boone, Cabell, Grant, Greenbrier, Jackson, Jefferson, Kanawha, Lincoln, Mason, Mercer, Nicholas, Putnam, Roane, Taylor, Wayne, Wetzel and Wood counties.
Mosquitoes spread the virus from infected birds to horses and humans. Some people can then develop deadly encephalitis, or swelling of the brain.
So far, no humans in West Virginia have been diagnosed with West Nile.
State health officials say people can protect themselves by ridding their property of standing water, which is a breeding ground for mosquitoes; by wearing long, loose, light-colored clothing and using a mosquito repellant that contains DEET.
A vaccine is available for horses.
(Bob Aaron, WCHS-TV)
(Copyright 2002 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)