(9:18 AM) Audubon Discusses Findings Of West Nile On Property

Responding to recent reporting of West Nile virus being found at Audubon Community Nature Center, Leigh Rovegno, center president, issued a statement explaining that the state Health Department has used Audubon as a test site for the local environment for more than 15 years. The mosquitos found to be carriers were a particular species that affect birds, not humans. The youngsters pictured are playing in the Audubon's Nature Play Space.

Leigh Rovegno, Audubon Community Nature Center president, says the center is safe to visit after a recent report from the Chautauqua County Health Department that West Nile virus was found on the premises.

“Audubon Community Nature Center has been a test site for the New York State Health Department for over 15 years,” Rovegno said. “They use our site to help them know what we as Chautauqua County residents should be aware of in our local environment. They have many public and private sites across the state to perform testing, most often areas that are highly used by the public. The representative from the Health Department who performed the recent testing found that 3.5 percent of the samples collected tested positive for West Nile. The mosquitos found to be carriers of West Nile Virus were a particular species that affect birds, not humans.”

The active mosquito biting season is nearing an end, according to county Health Department officials, as adult mosquito activities greatly diminish as the weather cools and the bulk of adult mosquitos are killed with the first hard frost. Mark Stow, county Environmental Health Services director, said in a news release earlier this week that it is important for county residents to take precautions so they aren’t bitten by mosquitos and to reduce areas on their properties where mosquitos can breed.

“The New York State Health Department representative feels that it is a low level of concern, and that we can continue to operate normally,” Rovegno said. “We are encouraging visitors to use bug repellant, wear long pants, and protect themselves as they normally would from getting bitten by mosquitos or other potentially hazardous insects when they do anything outdoors.”

Rovegno said anyone with questions can call her at 569-2345 or email lrovegno@auduboncnc.org.

The Audubon Community Nature Center is located at 1600 Riverside Road, one-quarter mile east of Route 62 between Jamestown and Warren.