West Nile found in Atmore Crow
By by Connie Nowlin
According to the Escambia County Health Department, a crow found north of Atmore has tested positive for the West Nile Virus.
This brings the Escambia County virus count to four crows with West Nile, one blue jay with West Nile, three horses dead with Eastern equine encephalitis, one horse dead with West Nile virus, and one human death of Eastern equine encephalitis.
According to the Centers for Disease control, West Nile virus, which is transmitted to birds and to humans and other mammals like horses by mosquitoes, does not always cause illness. For every person who becomes clinically ill, there are between 150 and 200 people infected that experience no symptoms.
The majority of people who are bitten by an infected mosquito will feel nothing, even if the virus is transmitted to them. Others may experience flu-like symptoms, including fever, headache and body aches, sometimes with skin rash and swollen lymph glands. Severe infections are marked by a variety of symptoms, including high fever, neck stiffness, disorientation and/or stupor, coma, tremors and convulsions, paralysis and rarely, death.
Mosquitoes will also be trapped by entomologists and tested for arboviruses each week at over 50 sites throughout Alabama.
Preventing infection by WNV is the same as other mosquito-borne diseases: Since mosquitoes must have standing water to breed, simply eliminate mosquito breeding sites and also reduce exposures to mosquito bites.
"About 1 percent of the mosquitoes have it, and about 1 percent of the people bitten by that 1 percent will get (the virus)," said Steve Mitchell, environmental supervisor for Escambia, Conecuh and Monroe counties. Mitchell made the comments early in the mosquito season.
Mosquito control has become the focus in avoiding the diseases in humans.
Instead, there are ways in which to stop larvae from becoming adult mosquitoes.
Residents may go by the county offices or satellite offices and pick up sustained release mosquito growth regulator briquettes.
The briquettes are designed to release their ingredients over a 30-day period and keep larvae from becoming mosquitoes.
The brick is placed in ditches or other small areas of shallow, slow-flowing or non-flowing water. One briquette will treat about 100 square feet.
The satellite office in Atmore gives each family two bricks. That amount should be enough for the worst of mosquito season.
The virus is often found in birds found dead by residents.
To have a bird tested, health officials tell residents to wear rubber gloves or insert hands in a plastic bag before picking up any dead birds. Health officials will only test jays, crows, or raptors, such as hawks or owls. The birds must be freshly dead for the virus to be found.
If a bird is found and needs to be tested, you may take it to the satellite office or call 368-9188.
If the bird is not one of the types tested, Mitchell suggests handling it carefully with no direct contact, and disposing of it in a trash receptacle or by burying it.