Local News

State Health Officials Ready To Swat West Nile Threat

Posted May 18, 2004

— State health officials predict another fight this year against West Nile, a potentially deadly virus some mosquitoes carry.

Nolan Newton, chief of the public health pest management section for the state Department of Environment and Natural Resources, said indicators from other states lead health officials to think that the West Nile season will be early and severe.

"We've found it in virtually every county in the state and certainly every geographic area in the state, so we know it's widespread," Newton said.

The state wants to concentrate more on controlling the population of those mosquitoes known to carry the disease. A new one, the Asian Bush mosquito, is calling North Carolina home.

Some areas of the state already use ground spraying and use bacteria to kill mosquito larvae. Plus, many families are also taking measures to protect themselves.

"We just try to be really good with repellant," mother Erin Allen said.

"We try not to be out in the evening at dusk because the mosquitoes are like swarming all around them so much," mother Judy Dodson said.

Officials said mosquito season likely will run through October. Newton said a human case of West Nile virus has already been reported in Colorado, and some dead birds in Louisiana have tested positive for the disease.


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