The public is urged to continue reporting dead crows, blue jaysand ravens to local offices of the Department of NaturalResources. Staff can then determine whether the bird is suitablefor testing. To date, 817 birds have been tested for the virusthis season. Information on West Nile virus is available on the Department ofHealth Web site at www.gov.ns.ca/health or at Health Canada’s Website at www.hc-sc.gc.ca/english/westnile/index.html . Health officials confirmed today, Oct. 3, that an American crowfound in Kentville, Kings Co., has tested positive for West Nilevirus. This is the seventh bird in Kings County to test positivefor the virus this year. There have been two positive birds inAnnapolis County and one in Shelburne County. “We’re getting closer to the end of our West Nile virus seasonand so far we haven’t found any West Nile virus-positivemosquitoes in the area,” said Dr. Maureen Baikie, associatemedical officer of health for the province. “The cooler overnight temperatures that we’re seeing will further reduce the number ofmosquitoes in the province.” Dr. Baikie said the province will continue to monitor for thevirus in people, birds, mosquito pools and horses. The virus is spread to humans by mosquito bites. While coldertemperatures should reduce mosquito numbers and therefore lowerthe risk of West Nile virus, it is still important for NovaScotians to protect themselves against bites from mosquitoes,especially in areas where dead birds have been confirmed to havethe virus. It is possible to reduce the risk of mosquito bites byeliminating mosquito breeding sites, wearing loose fittingclothing that covers as much skin as possible and by using insectrepellent containing DEET according to the instructions on thebottle. Dr. Baikie said the human health risk associated with West Nilevirus is very low. “Most people infected with the virus will haveno symptoms. Others may have mild symptoms, and only a very smallnumber of people will develop more severe symptoms,” she said. Anyone who demonstrates the more severe symptoms of the disease – which include a severe headache, high fever, stiff neck and muscle soreness — should seek medical attention.