Cities, county aid in combating West Nile Virus

Published 11:27 am Monday, July 27, 2009

By By Lydia Grimes
Simple precautions to combat mosquitoes can help protect residents against West Nile virus, health department officials said.
Earlier this week, the Escambia County Health Department announced that West Nile virus had been found in a sentinel chicken in the Riverview area.
The sentinel chickens in Riverview, Brewton, Appleton, Pollard, Flomaton and Atmore are part of a mosquito control program for which the health department received a $500,000 grant last year, Escambia County Health Department environmentalist Josh Coleman said.
Coleman said reducing exposure to mosquitoes can help prevent bites — and West Nile.
Atmore, Brewton, East Brewton and Escambia County have trucks out spraying to combat the mosquito population.
“We have been spraying all summer long and will continue work very diligently in trying and comply with all of the recommended procedures that we can to slow the spread of the virus around,” Atmore Mayor Howard Shell said.
Shell said the city has utilized its mosquito fogger, which is driven around on a streets and sanitation pickup “most every night” around dusk for several years now. The precautions began once the virus became so wide spread, Shell said.
Tony Sanks, Escambia County administrator, said the county has one truck that sprays all over the county.
The city of Brewton also sprays the city for mosquitoes. Danny Howard, superintendent of Streets and Sanitation for the city, said workers spray once a week.
The West Nile virus (WNV), EEE and other mosquito-born viruses are transmitted from bird to mosquito to bird. Sometimes the mosquitoes will take blood from a person, causing that person to become ill. It is important to try to keep the mosquito population down, while at the same time preventing them from biting humans.
Publisher Adam Prestridge contributed to this story.

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