UPDATE: Cabell Huntington Health Department Talks West Nile Virus Concerns

By: Lauren Denney; Andrew Colegrove Email
By: Lauren Denney; Andrew Colegrove Email

UPDATE: 8/27/12 @ 10 p.m.
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) – A small creature is causing major concerns across the country and here at home.

Health officials are seeing four times the usual number of cases of the West Nile virus for this time of year, and mosquitoes are at the heart of it all.

John Noble is worried about the spreading virus. He says lately, mosquitoes have been repeatedly biting his grandson.

"He couldn't even come out to play without getting eaten up with those things," Noble said.

Noble learned the virus hit our region last week when West Virginia became the 47th state to report infections.

"I got concerned,” he said. “Something like that could cause some damage."

So Noble called the Cabell Huntington Health Department. Monday night they set mosquito traps on West 5th Street in Huntington.

Stan Mills is the chief sanitarian for the health department. He says they've already trapped mosquitoes in Cabell County that tested positive for West Nile.

“There are some theories out there that due to the dry weather, birds that amplify the West Nile virus and the mosquitoes are all now going to the same water source," he said.

If you've noticed a lot of mosquitoes where you live, Mills says there are several things you can do.

"You should walk around your home and look for anything that holds water,” he said. “Just take a second and check those gutters. If water's hanging around, mosquitoes will breed up there."

Also, if you're out where mosquitoes might be biting, use a repellent with DEET and try to avoid being out at dusk and dawn when they're most active.

Most cases of West Nile are so mild, they don't even show symptoms.

Only about 1 in 150 people who get the virus develop a severe illness.

For more information you can check out the section of the Cabell Huntington Health Department’s website on mosquitoes and West Nile:

http://www.cabellhealth.org/mosquitoes.htm



ORIGINAL STORY
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- The news of West Nile Virus in Kanawha County has turned a minor annoyance into a major health concern for people like Walter Hammack who live at a public housing complex along Hillcrest Drive.

“It's getting to the point to where we have to go indoors and not spend no time outside because we don't want to risk catching the West Nile Virus,” Hammack said.

Hammack told WSAZ.com ponding water in the complex’s parking lot started with a water leak several months ago.

West Virginia American Water says it's a problem with a valve.

They're working to fix it, but in the meantime, Hammack and his neighbors are left wondering what to do.

“Who likes to be bitten by mosquitoes, whether you're getting a disease or not?” Hammack asked.

WSAZ.com went to the Kanawha-Charleston Health Department to see if there's anything you can do if you're in this situation.

Anita Ray, the director of environmental health, says they do have programs to help.

"If they feel like there's a problem in their neighborhood -- some body of water, an abandoned pool, whatever -- we can go out there," Ray said.

Experts will collect water samples, then test them.

Hammack told WSAZ.com he plans to have the water in his parking lot tested.

“At least we can ensure until those repairs are done there won't be a breeding population of mosquitoes coming out of this stagnant swamp,” Hammack said.

West Virginia American Water told WSAZ.com crews will be out on Hillcrest Drive fixing that leak Thursday.

They fully expect that to take care of any problems with standing water.


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