U.S. health officials say West Nile Virus is here to stay. The state of Kansas is already preparing for West Nile.
This year, the State Health Department will find out much sooner if you have the disease. They'll be testing in Topeka instead of the CDC in Atlanta.
The KDHE is asking for your help. When you're outside, it wants you to report dead birds once again. If you have any horses, ask your veterinarian about vaccinating them.
Last year when Keith Kinley heard about vaccinating horses against West Nile Virus he ignored the recommendation.
Keith says, "I thought it was another way for people to get money"
But it almost cost him his horse Cody's life. Last year hundreds of horses in Kansas contracted West Nile Virus. Cody was one of them.
Keith says, "At that time she was about 8-9 months pregnant and I thought there was something wrong with the pregnancy."
State Epidemiologist Dr. Gail Hansen says, "Can we get all the mosquitoes gone in Kansas? No, but can we keep it down. Can we prepare ourselves and be as ready as possible? Sure."
The mosquitoes that carry West Nile Virus usually don't hit Kansas until July. But the state is already testing them for the disease, and asking you to minimize your exposure tot hem.
Dr. Hansen says, "We're going to do everything we can to keep the west nile away from here."
Cody survived West Nile Virus, and almost four months ago gave birth to a colt, appropriately named Niles.
Keith says, "We've already got the first shots, we're getting the boosters here in another couple of weeks, and all the mosquito repellant we can find."