May 21, 2004
HEALTH DEPARTMENT INFORMING MEDICAL COMMUNITY
OF MOSQUITO-BORNE ILLNESSES
Charlotte, NC - The Mecklenburg County Health Department is advising area healthcare professionals to be aware of the potential for human West Nile virus infection and other arboviral infection.
In a broadcast fax to area physicians' offices, emergency rooms and clinics, health care providers are advised that all mosquito-borne illnesses are reportable to the Health Department. All blood tests for arboviral illnesses should also be routed through the Mecklenburg County Health Department or the State Laboratory for Public Health.
The Health Department routinely communicates with area health care providers in order to assist physicians in making an accurate and timely diagnosis of a potentially dangerous infectious disease. Three Mecklenburg County residents were infected with West Nile virus last year. There were 22 human cases of West Nile infection in North Carolina and two deaths.
Environmental Health specialists are currently observing the approximately 1300 sites around the County known to harbor standing water, which could be potential breeding grounds for mosquitoes. It has been established that West Nile virus is present in some local bird populations. This year, the Health Department will concentrate efforts on collecting and testing mosquitoes for the virus.
The best protection against West Nile and other mosquito-borne illnesses continues to be preventing mosquito bites.
To do so:
- Stay inside at dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are most active.
- Use repellants containing DEET and follow directions closely.
- Wear long sleeves and long pants when outdoors.
- Eliminate standing water sources that may be potential breeding grounds for mosquitoes.
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Media Contact: D.C. Lucchesi at 704-432-0344 or