West Nile In Lauderdale County

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The crow was found at the home of Deborah Loyd last week. She found it in her front yard Tuesday. After seeing a story about the West Nile on WTOK, she called the station.

"I was concerned, especially since it's killed several people, so I called," said Loyd.

NewsCenter 11's Garrett Sheehan picked the bird up, bagged it, and took it to the Health Department. After being taken to Jackson, it tested positive for West Nile.

"If we had just a little bit of good sense, we'd have known it was here," said Dr. Margaret Morrison of the State Department of Health. "It's been all around us."

Health officials say crows and blue jays die quickest from the virus, before they're able to travel far. That's why one of those two birds found dead means the virus is near. If you find one, the Health Department will not pick it up.

Morrison says the department doesn't have enough manpower to do that. If you find one, you should pick it up with gloves, and double bag it in a plastic bag and take it to your local Health Department.

Meridian-Lauderdale Animal Control says it will pick up a bird if you find one. All you have to do is call them during regular business hours. But health officials say you shouldn't be worried about catching the virus from a bird. It is only transmitted after mosquitoes bite those birds, and then bite humans. That means you should eliminate standing water in your home, and spray you and your children with mosquito repellant containing DEET before going outside.

There is no vaccine for West Nile, so the best way to prevent the virus is to keep mosquitoes from breeding.

"The mosquito you breed in your yard will be the one that ends up biting you," Morrison said.

The Food and Drug Administration has approved the first trial of the drug interaction tp see if it can lessen the symptoms and duration of the West Nile Virus in people. The virus can cause flu-like symptoms and even kill in some cases. 12 people have died from it so far, including three in Mississippi. Four people have been infected with West Nile in Alabama.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

wtok.com: Extended Web Coverage

West Nile virus Facts

  • The West Nile virus is a mosquito-borne virus that can cause encephalitis (an inflammation of the brain) or meningitis (inflammation of the lining of the brain and spinal cord) in humans and other animals.

  • The virus is named after the West Nile region of Uganda where it was first isolated in1937.

  • The virus appeared for the first time in the United States during a 1999 outbreak in New York that killed seven people.

How is the West Nile virus Spread?

  • The virus is spread to humans, birds and other animals through the bite of an infected mosquito.

  • A mosquito becomes infected by biting a bird that is carrying the virus.

  • West Nile virus is not spread from person to person, and no evidence indicates the virus can be spread directly from birds to humans.

  • Only a small population of mosquitoes are likely to be infected and most people bitten by an infected mosquito do not become sick.

  • 1 in 300 people bitten by an infected mosquito get sick.

  • 1 in 100-150 who get sick become seriously ill.

  • 3 to 15 percent of those seriously ill die.

Symptoms of the Virus

  • The symptoms generally appear about 3 to 6 days after exposure. People over the age of 50 are at a greater risk of severe illness.

  • Milder symptoms include: Slight fever, headache, body aches, swollen glands and/or sometimes a skin rash.

  • Severe symptoms include: High fever, intense headache, stiff neck, and/or confusion.

Protecting Yourself

  • Control mosquitoes from breeding around your home.

  • Wear long and light colored clothing.

  • Use insect repellent products with no ore than 20-30 percent DEET for adults and less than 10 percent for children.

  • Spray repellent on your hands and then apply to your face. Be sure repellent is safe for human skin.

  • Wash off repellent daily and reapply as needed.

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.

Sources: www.lambtonhealth.on.ca/environmental/mosquito.asp and www.vdh.state.va.us contributed to this report