North Carolina Health Department
has issued a warning with the start of the high-school football season.
So far, one person in the state has died from the West Nile Virus. Health officials want to make sure no one else falls victim to the preventable illness.
Health officials especially are concerned about high-school football fans. The games start in the evening, which is usually when mosquitoes strike.
The advisory received mixed reviews at a football game Friday night.
Fans may want to carry more than just their seat cushion to games like Friday's. They may want to add insect repellent to their list of "must-have" items for the game.
Another mosquito-borne illness,
Eastern Equine Encephalitis,
is much more serious than West Nile. It has been more active in the state than it has been in decades.
High-school football fans are usually filling up the stadiums at dusk, when mosquitoes are said to be the most active.
Barbara Surles wore insect repellent like an unscented perfume as she attended Friday's game.
"I want to live a long time," Surles said, "and I don't want to be taken out by a mosquito or something that simple."
Other fans were not worried. Powell Moore considered the threat minimal.
"We really have not thought about it," Moore said.
Other fans have thought about it. And for them, the warning is warranted.
Some fans said they are not going to miss a football game just because of the mosquitoes when the risk of West Nile or EEE is so small. But they added that if they do come out, they will protect themselves.
The goal of the Health Department simpy is to get football fans to take the mosquito-borne illnesses seriously. As it has been proven, the illnesses can be deadly.
Wake County Public School System
plans to raise awareness about the mosquito-borne illnesses through education. The same is true for the Wake County Health Department.
Residents are advised to get rid of standing water around their homes. They also are encouraged to use insect repellent or wear protective clothing to guard against mosquito bites.
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