Fighting emergence of West Nile, flu, gonorrhea, MERSA
By Nick Nunn
The Morgan County Board of Health held its quarterly meeting last Monday to discuss a change in personnel at the Nurse Manager position and a report on emerging infections.
The first point of new business was announcing the retirement of Mary Alice Gilbert, RN, who has been the nurse manager here for the last 16 years.
Gilbert, who has worked in the public health sector for 26 years, gave high praise for her successor, Leah Ainslie, NP, who will take over as Nurse Manager on Dec. 1 of this year.
“We’ve got a good one coming in,” said Gilbert about Ainslie.
Ainslie, who lives in Morgan County, had been the lead nurse in Greene County for the last six years.
Louis Kudon, Ph.D., filling in for Dr. Claude Burnett, MD, MPH, and District Health Director of the Northeast Health District, gave a report on emerging infections common to the United States.
Among the infections discussed, Kudon spoke in detail about the threats that the West Nile virus, influenza, gonorrhea and MERSA pose to the population in general.
For several of these threats, Kudon recommended simple ways of diminishing the possibility of an outbreak of these diseases.
For instance, since mosquitoes’ larvae must hatch in standing water, make sure there is none around homes, if it can be avoided. Also, the flu can often be avoided by taking a flu shot, which, he noted, are available at the Health Department in Madison.
Mayor Bruce Gilbert took the opportunity to ask Kudon about his opinion on spraying for mosquitoes during the summer.
“One thing we face every year is whether to spray or not to spray for mosquitoes,” began Gilbert. “We have so many people that don’t want it because they think it is dangerous or environmentally unsound.”
Kudon believes that the process of spraying for mosquitoes here is not worth the effort.
“I’ve done a lot of research on this,” said Kudon. “If you have a certain density of mosquitoes, spraying is effective, but, below that density, it really isn’t. You kill very few mosquitoes.”
“Around here, spraying for mosquitoes is not effective.”
However, that is not the only way to deal with the mosquito population. One other method involves using harmless monomolecular oils on the surface of larger bodies of water to keep mosquito larvae from the surface of the water, thus drowning them.
“Those things in an area like this are usually more effective. If you can find the source of mosquitoes, then you can really control them,” stated Kudon.
Printed in the November 29, 2012 edition.