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2002 News from Mecklenburg County

August 1, 2002  


Charlotte, NC – Late this afternoon, the NC State Laboratory of Public Health informed the Mecklenburg County Health Department of two more birds testing positive for West Nile virus. 

The birds, both American crows, were collected in the Foxcroft and Cotswold areas of Charlotte on July 19 th and 22 nd respectively.  These are the second and third positive cases of West Nile in Mecklenburg County so far this year.  The 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.  Nineteen people have died from complications of West Nile virus.  The most recent death was a 70-year old Louisiana woman health department officials say died of the West Nile virus this week. 

The elderly, young children 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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