Officials: Beware of disease

Published 4:16 am Monday, July 30, 2007

By By Lisa Tindell – news reporter
Brewton area residents aren't in immediate danger, but should remain cautious, as reports of West Nile Virus and Eastern Equine Encephalitis cases have been reported in Mobile and Baldwin Counties, health officials said.
According to a report from the Mobile County Health Department, officials there have received laboratory results indicating a probable human case of West Nile virus, the first case reported this year.
The case involves a man in his 30s living in the city of Prichard in Mobile County. The unidentified man was treated and released from a Mobile area hospital and is recovering.
The Mobile County Health Department also released information concerning two sentinel chickens in the Eight Mile area have tested positive for Eastern Equine Encephalitis, also known as EEE, and that aggressive surveillance and control activities are ongoing.
Elliott said there have been two other probable cases of WNV in Alabama so far this year.
Cases such as these are cause for concern Elliott said. Two deaths were reported as a result of EEE in 2003.
Elliott said both EEE and WNV are spread through mosquito bites, and symptoms among those infected are similar.  However, EEE is far more deadly with roughly 30 percent of each incidence leading to death.
In July 2005 a male from the Flomaton area died from probable WNV, Elliott said.
Mobile County's use of sentinel chickens is a common practice among health departments across the state, Elliott said.
Elliot said some symptoms of EEE include high fever; severe headaches, confusion and seizures that are sever enough to require medical attention.
Elliott also said there are several ways people can protect themselves from possibly being infected with either illness that are both spread by mosquito bites.
A list of other precautions is available from the Alabama Department of Public Health and includes: