For Immediate ReleaseFor More Information, Contact
July 26, 2006
PIO# 186-06/jbh
Patricia Ferrao, Program Supervisor, Program Supervisor
(703) 838-4400 Ext. 327;
Holly Feltner, EH Biologist
(703) 838-4400 Ext. 326

Raynard Owens, Communications Officer, at 703.838.4300


ALEXANDRIA HEALTH DEPARTMENT REPORTS CITY’S FIRST POSITIVE
TEST FOR WEST NILE VIRUS IN 2006

Public Reminded to Eliminate Standing Water
and Protect Themselves Against Mosquito Bites

The Alexandria Health Department announced today that mosquitoes recently trapped in the 4200 block of Eisenhower Avenue in Alexandria have tested positive for the West Nile Virus. “While no human cases of West Nile virus have been reported in the City of Alexandria this year, the Health Department reminds residents to protect themselves from mosquito-borne disease,” said Alexandria Health Director Charles Konigsberg, Jr., MD, MPH.

“Most mosquitoes do not pose a threat to public health because they are not infected with viruses or other pathogens,” said Dr. Konigsberg. “Less than one percent of people bitten by a mosquito carrying West Nile virus will actually become ill. But all residents should continue to take measures to protect themselves from mosquito bites.” People most at risk for developing symptoms of the disease are those over 50 and/or with immune systems that are already compromised. Protective measures include:

Avoid unnecessary outdoor activities at dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are most active;
Wear light clothing, long pants, long-sleeved shirts and hats when outdoors;
Use mosquito repellents registered with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency according to label directions;
Remove standing water from flower pots, tarps, trash receptacles, and other containers;
Flush pet food and water bowls and bird baths regularly; and
Remove unnecessary water-holding containers.

For more information on West Nile virus and mosquitoes, see the following websites:

Alexandria Health Department:
www.alexhealth.com

Virginia Department of Health:
www.vdh.virginia.gov/whc/external_whc/westnilevirus.asp

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:
www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvbid/westnile/index.htm

The Alexandria Health Department (AHD) is one of 35 district offices of the Virginia Department of Health’s Division of Community Services. The AHD’s Vector-borne Illness Prevention Program conducts surveillance activities throughout the City of Alexandria to monitor mosquito populations and detect mosquito-borne viruses of public health concern. Surveillance activities for adult mosquitoes use various collection traps and landing rate counts. For additional questions or concerns regarding mosquitoes or mosquito-borne illness, call Patricia Ferrao at (703) 838-4400 x. 327, or Holly Feltner at x. 326.

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