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Conference prepares public for West Nile season

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Written Tuesday, March 16, 2004  

West Nile virus season is approaching. To help the public take proper precautions, Ohio State University is conducting a satellite conference.

"Educating the Public about West Nile Virus and Its Prevention" will take place at 2 p.m. March 24. The conference broadcast can be viewed at Ohio State Extension offices across Ohio.

The target audience for the satellite conference is people who provide education to the public.

"Last year, 72 counties in Ohio had dead birds that tested positive for West Nile virus," said William Saville, Ohio State University Extension epidemiologist and large animal internist with OSU's Department of Veterinary Preventive Medicine. "The virus will still be a threat to people and horses in Ohio in 2004."

In 2003, six people died from West Nile virus. More than 100 people were infected with the virus. Also, more than 100 horses became infected with West Nile.

While 2003 cases were lower than those in 2002, the virus remains a health concern, Saville said.

Topics to be discussed during the satellite conference include human infection with West Nile, issues facing local communities and safeguarding horses from the virus.

Local community leaders, those working with county and health agencies, elderly advocates and others are encouraged to attend a conference broadcast. Managers of public areas such as fairgrounds, parks, campgrounds and recreational areas also are invited to attend.

For additional information about the conference, contact a local Ohio State Extension office.


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