West Nile reported in county

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, July 30, 2002

NATCHEZ &045;&045; A dead blue jay found in Adams County has tested positive for the West Nile virus, state Department of Health spokesperson said Tuesday.

It was not known Tuesday which of the eight birds sent from Adams County to the state lab in recent days tested positive.

Health officials also did not know in what area of the county that bird was found or when the bird was submitted. No reports of humans with the virus have been made, said Nancy Kay Wessman, director of communications.

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&uot;But when we have a bird that dies and is found to be positive, we know the virus exists in your county, and we encourage people to take personal protection measures,&uot; she said.

Those measures include wearing mosquito repellent with the ingredient DEET, staying indoors at dawn and dusk and wearing long sleeves outdoors.

They also include getting rid of old tires and other debris and emptying pets’ water bowls and bird baths that could hold stagnant water where mosquitoes can breed.

Joe Calvalas of Forest Drive found a dead blue jay July 21 and forwarded it to the health department.

He has not yet received test results.

&uot;The lady at the Health Department said they (state health officials) said it would be two to four weeks before we got results,&uot; Calvalas said. &uot;She said, ‘That means more like four to six weeks.’&uot;

The woman also told Calvalas that four birds had been reported in his neighborhood, Fatherland Acres.

Darryl Grennell, president of the Adams County Board of Supervisors, said he received a call Sunday evening from a Morgantown man who found a dead blue jay.

Grennell referred the man, whose name was not available as of Tuesday, to the Adams County Sheriff’s Office, which refers callers to the local health department office.

Citizens are asked to report any dead bird to the health department, but only blue jays and crows will be accepted for testing by the department.

Birds submitted for testing should be handled with gloves, double bagged and cooled until they are submitted.

Birds are tested at the health department lab in Jackson for West Nile virus, encephalitis and several other viruses, said Tommy Jackson of the Adams County Health Department office.

Results of the tests are usually available in three to four weeks.

The health department is asking those who find dead birds in Adams County to contact the local office at 445-4601. Birds can also be reported online at www.msdh.state.ms.us.