West Nile confirmed in Selma

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 6, 2002

Citizens in Dallas County say there are concerned.

A West Nile virus outbreak in Louisiana has led to four deaths along with 54 others who are reported ill due to the outbreak.

According to information provided by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, as of July 29 of this year, 103 birds have been found dead in Alabama due to the virus. No human deaths or illnesses have been reported.

A state public health veterinarian, Bill Johnston, reported one blue jay in Dallas County has tested positive for the virus.

Mosquitoes often carry West Nile virus, and residents of Selma say they are concerned about the amount of mosquitoes near their homes.

Virjene Hatch, another resident who lives in the same area, said she remembers a time when the City of Selma used to spray much more frequently.

Sally Jordan, who lives on Elm Street, said last year she even wrote

a letter to the editor of the Times-Journal, asking that more spraying be done in Selma.

Ernest Jones, the assistant director of Public Works, said that he has responded to several calls about mosquitoes, especially after the rainfall that hit Selma on Thursday.

He added, &uot;We try to spray as much as we can, but you can’t spray every day. If someone calls me, I will come out to their area.&uot;

Johnston recommended several things residents could do to prevent being bitten by mosquitoes.

The first thing, he said, is to get rid of standing water near one’s house. Standing water includes water found in flower pots, &uot;saucers for dogs,&uot; or other types of places where rain water may accumulate.

He added that residents with swimming pools, where water is moving, do not have to worry about an accumulation of mosquitoes near their pools.

According to the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) Web site, &uot;larvacide can be used in standing water than cannot be drained or in backyard garden pools.&uot; They added that biological predators like mosquito fish will also reduce the number of mosquitoes.

Second, Johnston recommended that residents wear a mosquito repellent containing the chemical DEET.

Third, try not be outside either at dawn or dusk. &uot;This is when mosquitoes will usually be in the area,&uot; he said.

Other tips recommended by the ADPH include not using cologne or after shave or lotions and sprays that contain fragrances; making sure that one’s home, porch and patio have tight fitting screens that keep mosquitoes out; and replacing outside light bulbs with yellow lights bulbs to &uot;discourage mosquitoes.&uot;

For more information on the West Nile Virus one can visit the ADPH Web site at www. ADPH. org, or one can contact the CDC at 1-888-246-2675.