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Dave Michaels
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Atlantic County Reports First Positive 2011 West Nile Virus Mosquito Sample

Atlantic County has reported finding a mosquito sample in Somers Point that has tested positive for West Nile Virus. State laboratory testing confirmed evidence of the mosquito-borne disease on August 22. This is the first positive mosquito sample found in Atlantic County this year.

Representatives from the Atlantic County Office of Mosquito Control collected the samples on August 18 on S. Holly Drive in Somers Point. County public health and mosquito control officials are conducting mosquito surveillance, implementing additional control measures and providing educational materials to area residents.

West Nile Virus can be transmitted to birds, animals and humans from infected mosquitoes. Crows are particularly vulnerable to the virus. Testing crows and other birds that have been dead for no more than 24 hours can help health officials determine if the virus is present in a particular region.

Health officials encourage residents to prevent the spread of West Nile Virus by following these simple steps:

* Avoid mosquito bites by using an insect repellent whenever going outdoors. Repellents are an important tool to assist people in protecting themselves from mosquito-borne diseases. The Centers for Disease Control recommends the use of products containing active ingredients which have been registered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for use as repellents applied to skin and clothing and approved for efficacy and human safety when applied as directed. Be sure to follow product directions carefully and consult with your child’s doctor prior to using on children.   

* Rid properties of mosquito breeding grounds by draining standing water.
Buckets, bird baths, flower pots and other containers can hold water and provide an ideal environment for mosquitoes. Be sure to empty these containers regularly.

* Clean clogged gutters; check and repair screen doors.
 * Report dead birds to the Atlantic County Division of Public Health by calling 609-645-5971.

For more information about West Nile Virus, visit the Atlantic County Web site at: www.aclink.org/publichealth or call our Mosquito Control and West Nile Virus hotline at 877-643-2287. For information or assistance in draining standing water from your property, call the Atlantic County Office of Mosquito Control at 609-645-5948.