While the Krombeen’s chickens were unaffected by West Nile, Rob Krombeen believes family members and friends visiting became ill after being bitten by mosquitoes in the area. After the blood was collected from the chickens Sept. 15 and prior to Oct. 6 — the day the chicken’s positive results were revealed — there were lots of mosquitoes in the area, said Krombeen.
Nearly everyone in the Krombeen household and visiting friends became ill for several weeks, he said.
With the colder temperatures, Krombeen said the presence of mosquitoes has decreased significantly.
Currently, county health department officials are accepting only birds that have been found dead for testing. What officials are doing at this time is preparing for the appearance of the West Nile virus in 2004.
“It’s (West Nile) here and it’s going to be like the plague and rabies,” said Gaither.
Gaither urges those who own horses to vaccinate the animals against the West Nile virus. The vaccination is administered on two separate occasions three weeks apart. After the final shot is administered, it takes an additional six weeks for the vaccination to be effective in fighting off the virus.
Canyon Pet Hospital’s mobile clinic is in Williams every Tuesday at Canyon Feed & Supply, 614 N. Grand Canyon Blvd. The clinic offers equine West Nile virus vaccinations from 9:30 a.m.-2 p.m. For more information or to schedule an appointment, call 774-5197.
Another measure the county is taking to prevent the spread of West Nile is the future breeding and distribution of mosquito-eating “guppy” fish that people can put into ponds on their property, said Gaither.
To prevent contracting the Wet Nile virus and keep mosquitoes away, residents are reminded to eliminate standing water from around residences. Citizens should also wear shoes and socks, long pants and a long-sleeved shirt when outdoors at dawn and dusk, when mosquitoes are most active. Wearing insect repellant when outdoors is also recommended.
Williams Police Department Animal Control Officer Sarah MacRae has become a local contact for area residents that discover dead birds. If residents discover dead birds, they are encouraged to contact MacRae at 635-4461. MacRae will then collect the birds and prepare them for testing.
For more information about the West Nile Virus, contact the county department of health at (928) 226-2741 or toll-free at (877) 522-7800.