MOBILE, Alabama – Three sentinel chickens in Mobile County have tested positive for West Nile Virus (WNV), according to the Mobile County Health Department. These sentinel chickens were located in the 36605, 36522 and 36587 ZIP codes.
The Mobile County Health Department’s Vector Control division monitors WNV in sentinel poultry flocks strategically placed throughout the county to detect the presence of viruses carried by mosquitoes. Traps are located in predetermined locations throughout the county and tested for Eastern Equine Encephalitis, West Nile Virus, and St. Louis Encephalitis. Aggressive surveillance and control activities are ongoing by MCHD staff.
Humans with WNV and other mosquito-borne diseases often have symptoms of high fever, severe headache, nausea, stiff neck, confusion, muscle weakness, paralysis, disorientation, and seizures that are severe enough to require medical attention, Eichold said. In rare cases, WNV can cause coma or death. The seriousness of an illness may depend on a person’s health and age. WNV affects the elderly most severely, health data shows.
Listed below are steps to take to avoid mosquito bites.
Clothing and aromatics
- Wear loose-fitting, light-colored clothes to help prevent mosquitoes from reaching the skin and to retain less heat, thereby making one less “attractive” to mosquitoes. Mosquitoes are more attracted to dark colors.
- When possible, wear long sleeves and long pants.
- Avoid perfumes, colognes, fragrant hair sprays, lotions and soaps. They attract mosquitoes.
- Follow the label instructions when applying repellents.
- When using repellents, avoid contact with eyes, lips, and nasal membranes.
- Use a good mosquito repellent on exposed areas. Some of the most reliable repellents contain the chemical DEET. All repellents should be used in accordance with label instructions.
- Apply DEET repellent on arms, legs, and other exposed areas but never under clothing. After returning indoors, wash treated skin with soap and water.
- Citronella candles and repellents containing citronella can help, but their range is limited. Herbals such as cedar, geranium, pennyroyal, lavender, cinnamon, and garlic are not very effective.
Around the home
- Mosquito activity peaks at dusk and again at dawn. Restrict outdoor activity during these hours.
- Keep windows and door screens in good condition.
- Replace porch lights with yellow light bulbs. They attract fewer insects.
- Mosquitoes breed in standing water so empty all water from old tires, cans and jars, buckets, drums, plastic wading pools, toys, and other containers.
- Clean clogged gutters.
- Remove the rim from potted plants and replace water in plant/flower vases weekly.
- Replenish pet-watering dishes daily and rinse birdbaths weekly.
- Fill tree holes and depressions left by fallen trees with dirt or sand.
- Stock ornamental ponds with mosquito fish or use larvicide “doughnuts.”
- Do not place grass clippings in or blow leaves into drainage ditches or storm drains. This will block the flow of water and allow mosquito breeding near the home.