Four birds test positive for virus

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, July 29, 2003

Staff and AP reports

In Suffolk, four birds submitted to the Division of Consolidated Labs have tested positive for West Nile Virus. The Suffolk Mosquito Control Division has increased surveillance activities and control measures in these areas.

Locations and collection dates are as follows:

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Blue Jay collected on July 20 at 301 Delaney Drive

Crow collected on July 22 at 4474 Driver Lane

Blue Jay collected on July 21 at 1161 Nansemond Parkway

Blue Jay collected on July 21 at 921 Maryland Avenue.

West Nile virus is spread to birds, humans, horses, and other mammals through the bite of an infected mosquito.

Most people bitten by an infected mosquito do not get sick. People who do get sick suffer a mild flu-like illness.

People over age 50 are at greatest risk of serious illness, such as encephalitis (inflammation of the brain) or meningitis (inflammation of the lining of the brain and spinal cord).

An elderly Alabama woman has become the first person in the nation this year to die from the West Nile virus, state health officials said Monday.

The woman, who was in her 80s and lived in Talladega County in central Alabama, became ill and died in July after being bitten by a mosquito infected with the virus, said Dr. John Mosely Hayes of the Alabama Department of Public Health. Her name was not released.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta had not confirmed the woman’s death Monday and was awaiting blood samples to conduct its own tests, said CDC spokesman Llelwyn Grant.

The CDC has confirmed only one human case of the West Nile virus this year, involving an elderly South Carolina man. He has been released from the hospital.

Last year there were a record 4,156 West Nile cases in the United States, including 284 deaths.

There were 49 human infections and four deaths from the virus in Alabama last year.

West Nile virus is spread by mosquitoes that have fed on infected animals.

It cannot be spread from person to person. The disease produces flu-like symptoms, including headaches, swollen glands, muscle aches and a rash.