West Nile found

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 6, 2002

BNI Newswire

Louis Williford, Pike County health environmentalist, said a blue jay discovered in the 36081 zip code was the bird Department of Public Health officials found the virus in.

Williford would not give the exact location of where the bird was found but did say it was "three or four miles outside of Troy."

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State officials added the Pike County discovery to the growing number of West Nile cases confirmed throughout Alabama.

Officials said early Monday that 47 birds in 12 counties tested positive for West Nile.

But with the virus sweeping several southern states, Williford is warning residents against panicking.

"People need to use common sense, but this thing is nothing to get upset about," he said.

Health officials say people should be mindful of the mosquito population and protect against insect


According to Williford, the West Nile virus attacks the immune system.

"A normal, healthy person can usually fight off West Nile," Williford said. "People with a weakened immune system, older people and young children are the ones who are in the most danger."

Williford described symptoms of West Nile as "flu like." Health officials with the state have said fever and aches are often accompanied with a rash.

Williford also said anyone who finds a dead bird can contact him.

"It is best if they do not handle the birds, just as a precaution," Williford said. "If they will call me, I will come out and pick it up. I’m not swamped with dead birds right now."