Report of human West Nile in county not confirmed

Published 12:00 am Monday, June 30, 2003

A spokesman with the Alabama Department of Public Health has warned people in Marengo County not to become overly frightened about the threat of West Nile Virus.

Last week, a rumor circulated that a man in Demopolis has been diagnosed with the mosquito-borne virus. Richard Holmes, who works in the ADPH, said that is not true yet.

Holmes said his department does not have any confirmed cases of West Nile in humans and he said people shouldn’t be frightened.

Email newsletter signup

Another problem with detection, he said, is that one blood test will not confirm the virus.

Though Holmes was quick to shoot down rumors of any human being contaminated with the virus, he said the threat of mosquito bites shouldn’t be taken lightly.

Alabama Agriculture and Industries Commissioner Ron Sparks said earlier this week that the year’s first case of Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) was confirmed by the Department’s Diagnostic Laboratory after several dead emus were discovered in Butler County last weekend.

At the same time, Sparks and State Veterinarian Dr. Tony Frazier issued a warning to the general public &045;&045; and especially to horse owners &045;&045; to take special care against that virus and other possible mosquito-transmitted diseases, including Western Equine Encephalitis (WEE) and West Nile Virus (WNV).

Dr. Frazier said that a Butler County man found the dead emus &045;&045; animals raised for their meat and feathers &045;&045; on his farm and promptly took one the animals to the Agriculture and Industries Diagnostic Laboratory at Auburn where the EEE Virus was confirmed.