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2002 News from Mecklenburg County

November 13, 2002

BIRD TESTING AND COLLECTION ENDS FOR SEASON,
HEALTH DEPARTMENT WILL KEEP PHONE LINES OPEN

Charlotte, NC - The Mecklenburg County Health Department won't be taking any more dead birds this year.  The decision to suspend bird collection and testing for the season is based on recent widespread frosts, a general decrease in mosquito activity and the state's decision to end dead bird surveillance for the season.  The Health Department's Dead Bird Hotline (704-353-0350) will, however, remain open for the winter.

As of November 12, 2002, the Health Department's Public Health Pest Management Program (PHPM) has collected and submitted 117 birds for West Nile virus (WNV) testing.  These birds were collected from 26 Mecklenburg County zip codes between May 1 and November 6, 2002.  Of those birds, 58 tested positive for West Nile virus. 

Two North Carolina residents have tested positive for West Nile virus infection, including a patient in Mecklenburg County.  The virus has also been detected in four other people, but those cases have been connected to infection in other states. 

Some other highlights of this past mosquito season:

· The majority (69%) of Mecklenburg County birds testing positive for WNV were collected in three zip codes-28209, 28210 and 28211.

· Of 358 mosquito pools collected for testing, one (1) was found WNV positive

· The PHPM program received and processed 1,570 mosquito complaints or service requests this season; 150 of these requests were for the collection of dead birds. 

· A total of 3100 phone calls were received by the Dead Bird Hotline (704-353-0350). It is estimated that staff responded to another 500+ calls on other phone lines.

· The National Wildlife Health Center in Wisconsin tested 40 birds from Mecklenburg County after the NC State Lab announced in August that it would no longer be testing birds.

The Health Department's Dead Bird Hotline will remain open to take calls from County residents about West Nile or to report dead birds.  Additional information can be found on the Health Department's Web site at www.meckhealth.org.



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