FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE (09-23-2015)
West Nile Virus Found in Mosquitoes
Positive West Nile Mosquito Pools Found in Cabell County and the City of Huntington in Wayne County
HUNTINGTON, West Virginia. The Cabell-Huntington Health Department is urging residents of Cabell County and the City of Huntington to take precautions to prevent mosquito bites that can potentially cause illness. Sporadic cases of West Nile Virus (WNV) occur each year in West Virginia; however, mosquito surveillance throughout the state in 2015, including Cabell County and the City of Huntington in Wayne County, has seen the first mosquito pools that are positive for the virus.
“West Nile Virus, like other mosquito-borne diseases such as Lacrosse encephalitis, can cause symptoms that include a fever, headache, body aches, joint pains, vomiting, diarrhea, or a body rash,” states Dr. Michael Kilkenny, Physician/Director for the Cabell-Huntington Health Department. While most individuals who have been exposed to WNV may not have any symptoms, Dr. Kilkenny cautions that in some cases, people may develop serious illnesses such as encephalitis or meningitis that can lead to hospitalization, and in rare instances, death. Fortunately, mosquito bites are largely avoidable.
Take steps to protect yourself and your family to avoid mosquito bites by following the “4 Ds”:
- Dress: Wear long sleeves and long pants when outdoors.
- Deter: Always use insect repellents when you go outdoors.
- Dusk: Avoid peak mosquito hours during the day, typically around dawn and dusk.
- Drain: Remove all standing water around your home.
“You can significantly reduce the number of mosquitoes around your home by eliminating potential places for standing water where mosquitoes love to breed, such as: bird baths, tires, flower pots, wading pools, and other containers,” states Stanley Mills, Director of Environmental Health. “Don’t forget to keep gutters clean and flowing and drill holes into the bottom of recycling or garbage containers to prevent water from stagnating. Make sure to repair or install window and door screens to keep mosquitoes from entering your home. Change out water in bird baths and pet watering bowls weekly and place screening on rain barrels.”
The Cabell-Huntington Health Department has been monitoring West Nile Virus in the mosquito populations by trapping the mosquitoes and submitting them to the WV Office of Laboratory Services for viral testing. Currently, some mosquitoes are showing the infection. Any complaints of heavy mosquito activity are investigated.
Anyone who has symptoms that cause concern should contact their health care provider, especially if the symptoms are severe; such as, confusion, seizures, and fever with either a stiff neck or muscle weakness
If you need additional information, please contact 304-523-6483 or visit the Cabell-Huntington Health Department website, www.cabellhealth.org or the Centers for Disease Control website, www.cdc.gov .
Contact: Elizabeth A. Ayers, MS
Director of Health & Wellness/PIO
Cabell-Huntington Health Department
Office (304) 523-6483 x 258
Fax (304) 523-6482
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