Fort Bend County no longer testing dead birds for West Nile virus

Random testing of mosquitoes continues

HOUSTON - The city of Houston reported two more cases of West Nile virus on Tuesday.

According to the Houston Health and Human Services Department, a southeast Houston man described as between the ages of 55 and 74 and a northwest Houston woman between the ages of 55 and 74, contracted West Nile Virus.

In Fort Bend County, random testing of mosquitoes continues but the county is no longer testing dead birds for the virus.

"Right now, we're not testing birds in Fort Bend County or there's no need for them to report the number of dead birds they find or if they find one in their yard. There's no need for them to report it to us right now," sais Melanie Manville with the Fort Bend County Health Department.

While Harris County accepts dead birds for testing at various drop off sites, it comes down to money for Fort Bend County.

"We started testing the birds about ten years ago when we first were looking for West Nile in the area. But now that we know West Nile is here in the area we no longer have to test the birds because we can test it in the mosquitoes as well. Some counties here still do it because they're still receiving funding for it. But we're not, so we're no longer doing it." Manville said.

If you do find a dead bird, you're asked to carefully dispose of it yourself with gloves, and put it in a sealed bag.

There are no medications to treat West Nile virus and there is no vaccine.

"I wish we had a vaccine for West Nile virus. There isn't a vaccine, so the best thing you can do is take precautions against mosquitoes and that means no standing water around your home to reduce the supply of mosquitoes that are out there available to bite you, and use a DEET containing or Picaridin containing mosquito repellant," said Dr. Melanie Mouzoon, of the Kelsey-Seybold Clinic.

According to health experts, we're most at risk at dawn and dusk so if you absolutely have to be outside during those hours you'll really want to layer on the repellant.

Routine ground spraying continues in Fort Bend County, with no plans at this time for aerial spraying.

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