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2002 News from Mecklenburg County

August 12, 2002  


Charlotte, NC – The NC State Laboratory of Public Health has informed the Mecklenburg County Health Department that nine more birds collected in Mecklenburg County have tested positive for West Nile virus. 

The birds—two blue jays and seven crows, were collected after August 1, 2002 when the state lab confirmed a second and third bird had tested positive for the virus.  These nine most recent birds were part of a collection of nineteen that were sent to the state lab since August 1.  The state lab is waiting on nineteen more birds from Mecklenburg County.   Of the nine birds testing positive for West Nile, eight of them were from the 28211 zip code.  The other was from zip code 28210. 

Environmental Health Specialists will again be trapping live mosquitoes over the next two evenings in order to collect samples for viral analysis.  Test results from mosquitoes trapped last week should be returned to Mecklenburg County by early next week. 

Mecklenburg County’s first case was confirmed in June in a blue jay carcass collected in the South Park area.  Since 1999, the virus has been detected in 34 states—including North Carolina, and the District of Columbia. 

The elderly and those with weakened immune systems are at the highest risk for developing complications from West Nile virus.  Those in these highest risk groups should take particular caution to limit their exposure to mosquito bites.  Long sleeves and long pants should be worn outdoors, as should mosquito repellants containing DEET.  Activity during the early morning and at dusk should be limited as this is when mosquitoes are most active, too. Property owners should keep outdoor water containers like buckets, old tires or animal drinking bowls emptied or full of fresh water in order to keep mosquitoes from breeding in them. 

For more information about protecting yourself and eliminating mosquito-breeding areas on your property, log onto the Health Department’ s Web site .  Look for the “Skeeter Defeater” logo. 

American crows, blue jays and common raptors are the most likely carriers of West Nile in the Mecklenburg County area.  Those are the only birds that the State lab will test for the virus, and the only birds that will be collected by the Health Department. 

To report mosquito problems, call the Health Department’s Public Health Pest Management Program at 704-336-5101.  To report dead birds call the Department’s dead bird hotline at 704-353-0350. 

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