Scientists at Iowa State University are maintaining a statewide watch for the deadly West Nile virus.The virus is spread by mosquitoes and was responsible for the 1999 deaths of seven people in the New York area and more than 60 severe cases. In Iowa, I-S-U medical entomologist Wayne Rowley says chicken houses are set up in ten cities across the state. Blood samples are taken from the chickens every ten days and are tested. Professor Rowley says it’s difficult to prevent the spread of the West Nile virus.Professor Rowley says there’s no vaccine for the virus, which causes a swelling of the brain and you can’t spray for it — that’d be like trying to spray for the flu. While -no- cases have been found in Iowa yet, he thinks it -will- spread here within the next few years. Many of us have been stung already, but Rowley says the peak times for mosquito bites come in late August and may last into October. He recommends people who will be in skeeter-laden areas wear insect repellent that contains “Deet.”