West Nile prompts spray increase

Published 12:00 am Friday, August 24, 2012

Residents are encouraged to take precautions to keep from getting West Niile Viru.

The growing number of West Nile Virus cases has prompted local officials to increase mosquito sprays, officials said Thursday.

The Centers for Disease Control reports that the number of cases for West Nile Virus across the United States are about three times higher than former for this time of year.

In Opp, the amount of pesticide their mosquito trucks are putting out has increased.

“We spray every night,” said Gary Frazier of the City of Opp. “We spray for three hours a night. We try to do different areas each night. Mayor (H.D.) Edgar told me to double up this week because of the increase in West Nile Virus.”

An employee in the street department said Wednesday that Andalusia tries to run a mosquito truck each day, depending on the weather.

WNV is an infectious disease agent that first appeared in the U.S. in 1999.

WNV can result in an asymptomatic infection, a mild or moderate flu-like illness or neurological diseases such as encephalitis or meningitis.

The number of confirmed cases in Alabama has risen to 12 human cases and the CDC is also reporting one death in the state.

The CDC website does not indicate which county the death occurred.

Throughout the state, Montgomery County has had six confirmed cases; Mobile County has three confirmed; Baldwin, Jefferson and Tuscaloosa have each had one confirmed case.

No confirmed cases have been reported in Covington County.

According to ADPH, approximately 1 in 5 people who are infected with WNV will develop symptoms such as fever, headache, body aches, joint pains, vomiting, diarrhea or rash.

Less than 1 percent develops neurological infection such as encephalitis or meningitis, but about 10 percent of people who develop neurological infection due to WNV will die.

According to the CDC, the best way to prevent the most common mosquito-borne diseases such as WNV is to avoid mosquito bites by following these recommendations:

• Use insect repellents – DEET, Picaridin, Oil of lemon, eucalyptus or IR3535 – when going outdoors;

• Wear long sleeves and pants during dawn and dusk.

• Install or repair screens on windows and doors. Use air conditioning, if available.

• Empty standing water from items outside homes such as flowerpots, buckets and children’s pools.

“With many people enjoying outdoor activities, it is important that residents take every effort to reduce their exposure to mosquitoes,” said Dr. Dee W. Jones, state public health veterinarian. “Keep your mosquito repellent with you at all times when you are working or participating in recreational activities outdoors.”