Zoos Vaccinate Animals for Virus - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

Zoos Vaccinate Animals for Virus

Zoos around the country hope to protect animals from a mosquito-borne bacterium already responsible for killing a penguin and two flamingo chicks.

Veterinarians injected birds and zebras with an equine approved vaccine for West Nile. Chicago's Lincoln Park also plans to keep animals indoors between dusk and dawn -- the active time for most mosquitos. Other zoos stocked fish that eat the insect's larvae or placed traps near marshy areas.

Despite the differing preventative strategies, each agree visitors own as much a chance of getting infected as anywhere else.

"Mosquitoes usually want to bite other birds," started Dr. Dominic Travis, an epidemiologist. "When there are not birds around, humans may be bitten by those mosquitoes and be affected. In general the wildlife has a much higher risk and a much bigger problem than people."

Health departments test hundreds of the biting bugs every week.

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