Virus Confirmed In Dead Bird Found Near Canton

CANTON, Ohio (AP) - The West Nile virus has arrived in Stark County, said officials of the Canton and county health departments.

Tests confirmed that the virus was in a dead blue jay found Sept. 18 near the Canton-Plain Township border, James Adams, environmental health director for the city's Health Department, said Monday.

That is the only case of West Nile virus in the county so far.

The virus is spread by mosquitoes. The two health departments intend to expand mosquito surveillance and spraying programs next year.

Last month, the virus was confirmed in two birds in the Killbuck Marsh area in southern Wayne County.

This year, the Ohio Department of Health tested 1,632 live birds, and only the two from Wayne County were found with the virus.

The state also tested 940 dead birds. Among those, the virus was found in 218 crows, 34 blue jays and two other bird species.

Cuyahoga County has the most West Nile reports: 141 crows, eight blue jays and 25 mosquito samples. Franklin County is second with 28 crows, three blue jays and one mosquito sample.

The virus has been confirmed in 26 of Ohio's 88 counties and is likely in the rest of the state, health officials said.

West Nile virus arrived in the United States two years ago.

People can't get the virus from birds, but they can get it from a mosquito that bit an infected bird.

There have been 26 cases of the virus reported this year nationwide. The reports have come from New York, Connecticut, Maryland, Florida, New Jersey, Georgia and Louisiana. There was one death, in Atlanta.

(Copyright 2001 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)