West Nile Strikes

By: Wade Phillips and Garrett Sheehan
By: Wade Phillips and Garrett Sheehan

Of the 48 human cases of the West Nile virus in Mississippi, three of them have been reported in Scott County. At the county's seat, city officials say people are concerned.

Forest Mayor Nancy Chambers says the number one thing they're trying to do is educate the public.

"It is our top priority," said Chambers.

Two weeks ago, when the virus first began to spread, the city purchased larvacide briquettes. Those briquettes are placed in standing water, and kill mosquito larva before they hatch.

"They kill them before they become adults and can fly around and bite the birds that have it," said Sheldon Thomas, the Sanitation supervisor for the City of Forest.

Thomas says the briquettes are especially important because many retailers have run out of them. He says the city is also looking into buying both liquid and granular larvacides.

City officials say though they're doing everything they can, it will ultimately be up to the public to prevent the virus' spread, by eliminating all standing water around their homes.

The town of Quitman is also hard at work, to combat the potential spread of West Nile Virus. Mayor Tommy Blackburn got the call he didn't want to get on Tuesday. A Quitman resident has it.

"No names were given," said Blackburn. "I asked if it was an elderly or young person. They said middleaged."

Blackburn said how severe the condition is for that person and where they are being treated was not released.

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Mosquito Protection Tips

  • Wear long-sleeved shirts, long pants, hats and boots to reduce exposed skin.

  • Limit outdoor activities between dusk and dawn.

  • Apply repellent liberally to all exposed skin areas.

  • Apply repellents to clothing, shoes, tents, mosquito nets, and other gear.

  • Use mosquito coils (ensure coils do not contain DDT).

  • Sleep in well-screened areas whenever possible.

  • Ensure that door and window screens fit tightly and do not have holes.

  • Insect repellents that contain 30-35 percent DEET (N, N-diethyl-m-toluamide) will provide adults with sufficient protection. The concentration of DEET in a repellent should not exceed 35 percent. Products with lower concentrations of DEET are effective but for a shorter period of time.

  • Reducing the amount of standing water on your property can significantly decrease the potential for mosquito breeding around your home.

  • Common breeding sites may include garbage cans, clogged roof gutters/drainage ditches, birdbaths, pool covers, flowerpots, tires, tarps, rainwater barrels, wading pools etc.

  • Containers that may accumulate water should be removed or holes drilled in the bottom.

  • Pools should be maintained and ornamental pools aerated or stocked with fish.

Source: www.lambtonhealth.on.ca/environmental/mosquito.asp contributed to this report.


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