Second West Nile bird found

Published 9:28 am Wednesday, September 10, 2003

By By Connie Nowlin Managing editor
For the second time in as many weeks, a crow found in Atmore has tested positive for the West Nile virus.
This second crow, discovered Thursday, was also found on Highway 21 near the I-65 interchange.
According to Ricky Elliott, an environmental specialist with the Escambia County Health Department, the second bird was not a surprise.
"It (the virus) has probably been there all along," he said. "We are just finding it now."
Elliot said the virus was expected to peak during the last two weeks of August and the first week of September. Brewton was ahead of the curve on the virus, but Atmore is right on schedule.
"I know that people are getting tired of hearing about the five Ds," Elliott said. "But they really need to keep on protecting themselves."
He suggested that residents should do their best to fight the mosquitoes in the larvae stage, since there are better results in killing the larvae than in preventing adults from biting humans.
Elliott said that female mosquitoes can lay eggs every third night, as many as 300 per night. A female that carries the West Nile virus can pass it on to her offspring, so that one mosquito positive for the virus can reproduce up to 900 carriers inside little more than a week.
"What this means is that we can prevent 300 carriers by dumping out a flower pot, basically," Elliott said.
Additionally, he reiterated that residents should follow the five Ds of virus prevention: Use insect repellent with DEET, dress appropriately, that is, with long sleeves, pants and socks, avoid the outdoors at dusk and dawn, and drain standing water so that breeding places are eliminated.
So far this year, West Nile has been found in 114 birds in Escambia, Covington, Monroe, Clarke, Washington, Mobile and Baldwin counties, in 33 horses in Mobile, Baldwin, Escambia, Monroe, Covington and Geneva counties, and in humans in Monroe, Baldwin, Mobile and Geneva counties
Although last year birds had to be sent away to be tested for the virus, now the carcasses of dead birds may be tested locally, with results available the same day.
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, officials suggest handling it carefully with no direct contact, and disposing of it in a trash receptacle or by burying it.

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