MOBILE, Alabama — Sentinel chickens in two locations in Mobile County have tested positive for West Nile virus, public health officials said today. They are the second and third cases reported so far this year in Mobile.
The locations of the chickens are in the 36613 ZIP code area and the 36571 ZIP code area, according to Dr. Bernard Eichold who leads the Mobile County Health Department.
People taking part in outdoor activities are urged to take every effort to reduce exposure to mosquitoes and should keep mosquito repellent with them at all times when outdoors. Mosquito activity, Eichold says, peaks at dusk and again at dawn.
The risk of encephalitis spread by mosquitoes typically coincides with periods of warmer weather, Eichold said, and people should still assume that there are mosquitoes in their communities that are infectious for diseases such as West Nile other forms of mosquito-borne encephalitis such as eastern equine encephalitis (EEE) and St. Louis encephalitis (SLE).
According to Dr. Eichold, humans with those viruses often have symptoms of high fever, severe headache, nausea, stiff neck, confusion, muscle weakness, paralysis, disorientation, and seizures that are severe enough to require medical attention.
In rare cases, WNV, SLE, and EEE can cause coma or death. The seriousness of an illness may depend on a person’s health and age. WNV affects the elderly most severely, and EEE affects the young and elderly most severely.