Letter to the Editor

Published 9:53 am Monday, September 17, 2007

By Staff
Protect yourself against West Nile
The Alabama Department of Public Health reports that there have been 13 cases of West Nile virus this summer, eight of which have occurred in the city of Montgomery. Three persons with fatal cases of the disease were residents of Butler, Marshall and Montgomery counties.
Dr. Charles Woernle, assistant state health officer for disease control and prevention, said, "We urge the public to follow personal protection and control measures until temperatures decrease enough to slow mosquito activity–when nighttime temperatures reach the fifties."
Mosquitoes spread the virus by first feeding on the blood of infected birds, and later biting a susceptible person. The disease cannot be spread from person to person.
While many people with West Nile virus do not get sick, some people get encephalitis (inflammation of the brain) and require hospitalization. Twelve of the 13 cases involved encephalitis. Symptoms of encephalitis include severe headache, confusion, coma and death.
The age range of patients is from 15 to 86 years. The total of 13 cases so far this year compares with 5 in 2006, 6 in 2005, 15 in 2004, 38 in 2003, and 49 in 2002.
Health officials remind the public of these practical strategies to prevent mosquito bites and mosquito-borne viruses:
Personal Protection
Around the home

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox