July 11, 2002
HEALTH DEPARTMENT RECEIVES TEST RESULTS FROM DEAD BIRDS COLLECTED AFTER YEAR’S FIRST CASE OF WEST NILE
Charlotte, NC – The North Carolina State Laboratory has returned test results on six birds collected in Mecklenburg County. All of those birds have tested negative for West Nile virus.
The Mecklenburg County Health Department’s Public Health Pest Management Program collected the birds between June 17-24. This is the same week that the State’s first case of West Nile was confirmed in a blue jay that was found dead in the South Park area.
One of the six dead birds collected that week was found just a few blocks away from the blue jay that tested positive for West Nile.
The Health Department sent four more birds to the State lab this week, bringing the year-to-date total to 26 birds. In all of 2001, the Health Department sent in 32 dead birds for testing.
Preliminary test results from the State lab have also been returned on more than 50 mosquito pools collected around Mecklenburg County. Of those, there were 32 mosquito pools collected in the South Park area. None of the mosquito pools have tested positive for West Nile virus. Final test results should be available soon.
The pooling process involves setting traps to catch live mosquitoes. Those live mosquitoes are then sent to the State for viral analysis.
You can lessen your risk of being bitten by mosquitoes by limiting outdoor exposure at dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are most active. Very young children, the elderly and those with weakened immune systems should be particularly cautious, since they are at the highest risk of contracting mosquito-borne illnesses. Long sleeves and long pants and mosquito repellants containing DEET are effective ways of preventing bites. Eliminating standing water sources on or around your property can also help minimize your chance of exposure.
If you have questions or complaints about mosquitoes, call the Health Department’s Public Health Pest Management Program at 704-336-5101 or check the Health Department’s Web site at
http://www.meckhealth.org. To report dead birds, call 704-353-0350.