Tuesday, August 6, 2002
As late summer approaches, the time when reports of West Nile Virus typically intensify, county public health and mosquito control officials are stepping up their campaign to remind area residents about the importance of controlling mosquito breeding around their properties.
County Executive Dennis Levinson announced today the release of a new locally produced West Nile Virus video that will be distributed to area doctors' offices, schools, hospitals and community groups over the next several weeks. The seven minute segment encourages homeowners to eliminate standing water that collects in tires, tarps, buckets, children's toys, bird baths and other common outdoor items.
Residents are also urged to call the county Division of Public Health to report dead crows for testing. Crows are very susceptible to West Nile Virus and are good indicators of the presence of the disease in a particular community. Public service announcements are also airing on local radio stations to reinforce key protective measures such as limiting outdoor activities at dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active, as well as using insect repellent containing DEET.
"We are committed to using the professional resources of our county to ensure that West Nile Virus is kept in check, that the disease is tracked, and that the public is kept informed", states Levinson. He adds: "We are also grateful to our residents for doing their part to control the spread of this potentially deadly disease."
West Nile Virus is carried by mosquitoes. While the risk to humans is relatively low, officials encourage taking precautions. "Most types of mosquitoes do not travel far from where they breed," explains Bill Reinert, Director of the county's Office of Mosquito Control. "So eliminating standing water-even small amounts--around your home will go a long way to protecting your family from West Nile and other diseases carried by mosquitoes."
To date this year, three crows and one mosquito pool have tested positive for West Nile Virus in Atlantic County. There have been no human cases locally this year. "We have had birds, mosquitoes and horses test positive for West Nile over the last several years," notes Health Officer Tracye McArdle. "Clearly the disease is here, and will continue to be present in our community for the foreseeable future."
To report a dead crow, or for more information about West Nile Virus, call the County Division of Public Health at 609-645-5971, extension 4277. If residents have questions about mosquitoes, or if there are stagnant puddles or floodwater on or around their property that is difficult to control, they can call the County Office of Mosquito Control at 609-645-5948. Information is also available on the web at www.aclink.org/public health.
Contact: Tracye McArdle, Division of Public Health, (609) 645-5935