August 20, 2002
HEALTH DEPARTMENT TO UPDATE COUNTY COMMISSIONERS
ON STATUS OF WEST NILE VIRUS
Charlotte, NC – The Mecklenburg County Health Department responds tonight to a request to update the Board of County Commissioners on West Nile virus and the public health impact here in Mecklenburg County.
Health Director Peter Safir will offer details on the Department’s response to the threat of West Nile and the status of tests being conducted in the state lab. The Health Department is still awaiting test results from more than 100 mosquito pools and another 24 dead birds.
Safir will also show the Board a pair of maps; one shows the location of dead birds collected throughout the County, the other which shows areas that have been treated for mosquitoes. In 2002, the Health Department has collected 74 dead birds and treated more than 1300 sites throughout the County.
So far this year, 12 birds—nine American crows and three blue jays, have tested positive for West Nile virus in Mecklenburg County. Two other birds—one from Lincoln County and another from Surry County are the only other birds to test positive in North Carolina.
While recent rains have made a slight dent in Mecklenburg County’s deficit, the Health Department will also use the opportunity before the Commissioners to offer a public reminder that standing water on our property creates an ideal breeding ground for the mosquito species most common in our area. Up to 80% of the mosquitoes in our area are considered “container breeders”. That is, they thrive in habitats such as old tires, buckets, depressions in tarps or other concave surfaces that will collect and hold water. Removing these items and eliminating standing water can help limit the available breeding ground and the number of mosquitoes.