West Nile fever outbreak claims three lives in northeast Italy

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Two elderly Greeks - both over 80 - are the first victims of this year's West Nile virus, Greek health officials reported Thursday.

West Nile virus is transmitted from birds through bites by the Culex pipiens mosquito. Door County Public Health interim manager Sue Powers says there are things you can do to help protect yourself. With WNV and EEE established throughout the state, DEM and RIDOH remind the public to eliminate mosquito breeding grounds and prevent being bitten, whenever possible.

The Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) expects to continue to see increased West Nile virus activity throughout the state as the mosquito season progresses.

Apply an insect repellant with DEET, IR3535, picaridin, or oil of lemon eucalyptus to exposed skin and clothing. Those who do become ill usually experience mild symptoms such as fever, headache, muscle ache, rash, and fatigue. Make sure doors and windows have tight-fitting screens to keep out mosquitoes and fix or replace screens with tears or holes.

Change water in birdbaths frequently, at least once a week.

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Clean and chlorinate swimming pools, outdoor saunas, and hot tubs; drain water from pool covers.

"One in 150 people will develop a neurological condition like encephalitis and things like that", said Sookoo.

August and September are traditionally the peak times for virus transmission of the mosquitoborne virus.

Health officials in Greece have confirmed 17 new cases of West Nile virus this week, bringing this summer's total to 60 reported cases. To report a sick or dead crow, blue jay, or raven, call the Dead Bird Reporting Hotline at 1-800-433-1610.

The outbreak, mostly in the western suburbs of Athens, mark a reappearance of the virus after an outbreak past year when Greek authorities registered 48 cases, resulting in five deaths.

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