VANCOUVER, Wash. — Washington State University Vancouver’s Department of Nursing will present a June 21 lecture to explain how people can help control the spread of West Nile Virus.

The free, one-hour lecture will begin at 10 a.m. in the Student Services Lecture Hall at WSU Vancouver. WSU alumna Dr. Pamela Jen of Healing Star Veterinary Clinic will discuss the history, transmission and symptoms of the WNV.

WNV, a newly emerging disease that threatens human and animal populations, is a mosquito-borne disease that has killed 284 people in the United States and Canada. Wildlife and domestic animals, particularly horses and birds, are especially vulnerable to infection and serve as host carriers of the disease. Public health agencies have asked state veterinarians to assist them in educating the public about WNV.

The West Nile Virus, common in Africa, West Asia and the Middle East, first emerged in the eastern United States in the summer of 1999. Symptoms of the virus are usually mild and include a low-grade fever and headaches but can escalate into meningitis or encephalitis, particularly among the elderly, children or people with weak immune systems.

“We are fortunate to have the opportunity to gain a local slant on this disease so we can lessen the risk of infection to both ourselves and our pets,” said Dr. Renee Hoeksel, director of nursing programs at WSU Vancouver. Those unable to attend the lecture are encouraged to investigate the disease by contacting their local public health agency or by logging on to the national Web site for the Centers for Disease Control at www.cdc.gov.

For more information on WNV, please call Dr. Jen at (360) 887-0714.