Health Department Warns of Mosquito-Borne Illness

May 7, 2013

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP/WMOT) — The Tennessee Department of Health is urging people to protect themselves from viruses transmitted by mosquitoes. Last year Tennessee experienced 33 human cases of West Nile virus, including one in December.

Health Department spokesman Dr. Abelardo Moncayo says four out of five people with West Nile won't show symptoms, but others will develop severe illness that can result in permanent neurological damage or even death.

“People might experience the sudden onset of a fever, headache; they just might not feel very good; tiredness. A smaller percentage of people might develop neurological symptoms for encephalitis, so they might feel dizziness, could lead to seizures, loss of consciousness.”

Dr. Moncayo says you can help the state test for West Nile in your community by reporting the presence of any dead Crows or Blue Jays you might find.

“You want to call your local health department and coordinate with them how they can get a sample from that bird. Whether that is them coming to you, or you bagging the bird up and taking it to the local health department.”

Dr. Moncayo says West Nile has already been detected this spring in West Tennessee. Testing here in the mid-state begins this week.