The Mornin' Mail is published every weekday except major holidays
Wednesday, August 14, 2002 Volume XI, Number 41

did ya know?

Did Ya Know?. . .The Fair Acres Family YMCA is currently accepting registrations for Youth Flag Football (ages 5-12) and Youth Volleyball (5th-6th Grade). All games will be played on Saturdays. For more information contact Jarrod Newcomb or Alicia Smith at 358-1070. Financial Assistance is available.

Did Ya Know?. . .Golden Reflections will meet in the McCune-Brooks Hospital cafeteria at 2 p.m. on Thurs., Aug. 15th for a Carthage Tech Center presentation on Adult Tech Programs. Bingo will be played.

today's laugh

It’s no fun to go to the airline desk to complain about lost luggage only to see the clerk wearing your clothes!

"What did George Washington say just before he got into the boat to cross the Delaware?"
"Fellas, get in the boat."

Every golf club has its grouch. In this one club, the grouch managed to hit a hole-in-one. He threw his club down and said, "Just when I needed the putting practice."

The trouble with economics is that there are more ways to go into debt than there are ways to get out of it.


A Chronological Record of Events as they have Transpired in the City and County since our last Issue.


An unusual coincidence happened the other evening in Carthage when Merchants Policeman Asa Hurst accidentally ran across a man who, when a boy, helped rescue him, as a refugee prisoner, in Tennessee during the Civil War. Neither recognized the other but chance conversation led to the discovery of their former acquaintance.

The man’s name is Wilson Monroe, and he is here working with the Missouri Pacific steel gang. He was gazing intently at the series of battle scenes on the wall of the hotel bar. Asa Hurst, who participated in some of these battles, joined him and took part in comment.

Then the conversation turned to the battle of Bull’s Gap and old friends soon recalled each other. The story runs this way:

Three Tennessee companies, to one of which Asa Hurst belonged, were chosen to capture the noted Morgan. They went through Bull’s Gap, Tenn., by night, with a woman of the neighborhood for a guide, and just at day break reached the hotel where Morgan stopped. They captured Morgan and his staff, Morgan being killed in the fight. The three federal companies then had to beat a hasty retreat to escape opposing hosts near at hand. At Bull’s Gap with their own forces close, they made a stand. But reinforcements failed to come to their relief for some reason and after a hard fight, they had to cut their way out of the perilous position.

In doing so Asa Hurst was captured, but in a few hours took advantage of a favorable moment and escaped to the brush. Swimming the Cumberland river, and going down stream hatless, coatless and in his stocking feet, for two days and nights he came to a cabin where were only two women. He trusted to luck to risk asking them for victuals and clothes. Their husbands were in the Union army, as it chanced, and all was well.

One of the women went to her father’s house in the neighborhood and brought clothing and shoes. With her came her brother, a boy in his early teens—Wilson Monroe. the latter was able to give the fugitive and disheartened soldier boy directions which led him to safety.

Now the two meet by mere chance in Carthage after more than thirty years. Each was able to recall many things which convinced the other that there was no mistaken identity. It is unnecessary to add that they sat for hours talking of the stirring war times, and of past events in old Tennessee, the home of their childhood.

  Today's Feature

County Vigilant for West Nile Virus.

The Jasper County Health Department is responding to an increase in the number of phone calls concerning dead birds due to the increased awareness of the West Niles Virus. (See inside today’s paper for complete information on the virus.)

According to Jasper County Environmental Public Health Specialist Kendra Williams, the first bird from Jasper County to be tested for the disease was sent off yesterday. Williams said the bird fit the criteria of the Missouri Department of Health to be tested. Results of the test may take some time because of the large number of birds being tested at the lab. Bluejays and Crows are the most likely affected.

Reports of birds that have tested positive for the virus have come from as close as Miami, Oklahoma.

Williams said that her latest information show that nine horses have been found as preliminary positives in Missouri and one horse is confirmed dead of the disease in Pettis County.

Although humans are susceptible to the virus, the chances of serious illness are relatively small.

West Nile Virus Fact Sheet

What is West Nile virus? The West Nile virus is transmitted by mosquitoes to birds, various animals, and humans. Most persons infected with this virus show no symptoms, although occasional infections can result in serious illness and even death.

What kinds of birds carry the West Nile virus? Any wild or domestic bird can be infected with this virus, but some species are particularly susceptible to disease and death from this infection. These species include crows, blue jays, and birds of prey such as hawks, owls, and eagles. However, based on our current understanding of this virus, it appears that the only significant risk to humans is through the bite of an infective mosquito (see "How do people get West Nile virus?" below).

Where did West Nile virus come from? West Nile virus has been commonly found in humans, birds, and other animals in Africa, Eastern Europe, Western Asia, and the Middle East, but until 1999 had not previously been documented in the Western Hemisphere. The U.S. viral strain is most closely related genetically to strains found in the Middle East.

What are the symptoms of West Nile virus infection? Most people infected with this virus do not have any symptoms. Some people experience a mild illness characterized by slight fever, headache, body aches, skin rash, and swollen lymph nodes. More severe illness can include encephalitis (inflammation of the brain) and is marked by a rapid onset of a high fever, head and body aches, neck stiffness, muscle weakness, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions, and in the most severe cases, death.

How soon after exposure do symptoms appear? Symptoms usually appear 3 to 15 days after exposure.

What if I am pregnant? There is no evidence that pregnant women are at increased risk due to West Nile virus infection.

How do people get West Nile virus? The West Nile virus, like most mosquitoborne viruses, is found in wild and domestic birds. When a mosquito feeds on an infected bird, it can pick up the virus and transmit it to other, noninfected birds. Occasionally, infective mosquitoes will feed on mammals such as horses, dogs, cats, and humans, and transmit the virus to them.

If I live in an area where birds or mosquitoes with West Nile virus have been reported and a mosquito bites me, am I likely to get sick? No, even in areas where mosquitoes do carry the virus, very few mosquitoes—much less than 1%—are infected. If the mosquito is infected, less than 1% of people who get bitten and become infected will get severely ill. The chances you will become severely ill from any one mosquito bite are extremely small.

Can I get West Nile virus directly from birds? There is no evidence that a person can get the virus from handling live or dead infected birds. However, persons should avoid barehanded contact when handling any dead animals and use gloves or double plastic bags to discard dead animals.

How can I discard a dead bird? Place the dead bird in double plastic bags (using gloves or the plastic bags to prevent skin contact) and discard in a garbage can. Birds can also be buried or incinerated, taking care to prevent direct skin contact with the birds.

What will happen if my dog or cat eats an infected bird? There is no evidence that West Nile virus infection can be acquired by ingestion. Very few dogs and cats have been found to be infected with the West Nile virus even in those parts of the country where infected mosquitoes are found.

How can I report a sighting of dead bird(s) in my area? Contact your local or state health department if you observe dead birds, particularly crows and blue jays. Health officials will determine whether the event should be investigated and whether bird specimens should be submitted to a laboratory for testing.

Can West Nile virus be spread from person-to-person? West Nile virus infection is not transmitted from person to person. For example, you cannot get West Nile virus from touching or kissing a person who has the disease, or from a health care worker who has treated someone with the disease.

How can I protect myself from West Nile virus? It is not necessary to limit any outdoor activities. However, you can and should try to reduce your risk of being bitten by mosquitoes. Mosquitoes are most active at dawn and dusk. Reducing the mosquito population around your home and property can be accomplished by eliminating standing water:

• Dispose of tin cans, plastic containers, ceramic pots or similar water-holding containers.

• Remove all discarded tires on your property. Used tires are very significant mosquito breeding sites.

• Drill holes in the bottoms of recycling containers that are kept outdoors.

• Make sure roof gutters drain properly, and clean clogged gutters in the spring and fall.

• Turn over plastic wading pools and wheelbarrows when not in use.

• Change the water in birdbaths at least weekly.

• Clean vegetation and debris from edges of ponds.

• Clean and chlorinate swimming pools, outdoor saunas, and hot tubs.

• Drain water from pool covers.

• Use landscaping to eliminate standing water that collects on your property.

In addition to reducing standing water in your yard, make sure all windows and doors have screens, and that all screens are in good repair. If West Nile virus is found in your area:

• Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants whenever you are outdoors.

• Spray clothing with repellents containing permethrin or DEET since mosquitoes may bite through thin clothing. Apply insect repellent sparingly to exposed skin. An effective repellent will contain 35% DEET (N,N-diethyl-meta-toluamide). DEET in high concentrations (greater than 35%) provides no additional protection. Repellents may irritate the eyes and mouth, so avoid applying repellent to the hands of children. Whenever you use an insecticide or insect repellent, be sure to read and follow the manufacturer's DIRECTIONS FOR USE, as printed on the product.

What should hunters do to protect themselves against West Nile virus? Hunters should follow the usual precautions when handling wild animals. They should wear gloves when handling and cleaning animals to prevent blood exposure to bare hands and meat should be cooked thoroughly. If hunters anticipate being exposed to mosquitoes, they should apply insect repellents to clothing and skin according to label instructions.

How is West Nile virus diagnosed? If you or your family members develop symptoms such as high fever, confusion, muscle weakness, and severe headache, you should see your health care provider immediately. Your health care provider will assess your risk for West Nile virus infection. If you are determined to be at high risk, your provider will draw a blood sample and send it to a laboratory for confirmation.

What is the treatment? There is no specific treatment for viral infections, other than to treat the symptoms and provide supportive care. In more severe cases, intensive supportive therapy is indicated, often involving hospitalization, intravenous fluids and nutrition, respiratory support, prevention of secondary infections, and good nursing care. Elderly persons are at highest risk for developing severe illness due to West Nile viral infection, so these individuals should promptly seek medical care if infection is suspected.

Is there a West Nile virus vaccine for humans? No, but several companies are working towards developing a vaccine.

Missouri Department of Health
and Senior Services

West Nile Virus

Information provided by the
Section of Communicable Disease Control and Veterinary Public Health

Every spring and summer, as mosquito numbers and activity increase, people across the United States are at risk of being infected by viruses spread by these pests. Infection may result in encephalitis, or inflammation of the brain, which is a very serious and even life-threatening condition.

In Missouri, diseases such as St. Louis and eastern equine encephalitis are a potential threat each year, but the much-publicized West Nile encephalitis has overshadowed them recently. West Nile virus (WNV) was first discovered in the United States in New York City in 1999 and spread to other states in the Northeast and along the Atlantic seaboard during 2000. West Nile virus invaded the Midwest in 2001, and by the fall of that year had been identified in eight crows in eastern Missouri.

The life cycle of these mosquito-borne viruses is complex. Reservoirs include wild and domestic birds, small rodents and other mammals, and perhaps even reptiles and amphibians. Vectors for these viruses include mosquitoes that feed on both birds and mammals. Horses and humans are accidentally infected when the level of virus activity in normal hosts becomes so great that it begins to "spill over" into other species.

The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (MDHSS) has conducted surveillance for this group of illnesses for many years. With the threat of introduction of West Nile Virus into the state, these surveillance activities were expanded during 2000 and 2001. This season, in a cooperative effort with numerous partners, the following activities will be conducted:

Passive surveillance for mosquito-borne illnesses in humans, which are reportable by statute in Missouri.

Physicians should consider arboviral testing of patients presenting with aseptic meningitis and viral encephalitis if mosquito-borne illness has not already been ruled out. These tests are available through the State Public Health Laboratory (telephone: (573) 751-0633).

Active surveillance for equine cases of western and eastern equine encephalitis (WEE and EEE). Designated equine veterinary practitioners are contacted weekly throughout the mosquito season to see if they have diagnosed or suspect cases of these diseases in horses under their care.

Live bird surveillance. Under contract with MDHSS, the U.S. Department of Agriculture traps wild birds, draws blood samples, and submits them to a laboratory to be tested for evidence of arboviral activity.

Surveillance of mosquito populations. MDHSS contracts with various local health departments to conduct mosquito-trapping programs. Some local health departments conduct mosquito-trapping programs using local funding. Personnel from Southeast Missouri State University (SEMSU) conduct a mosquito-trapping program in southeast Missouri under a contract with MDHSS.

Surveillance for human cases of arboviral disease. MDHSS contracts with various local health departments to conduct active human case surveillance for mosquito-borne illnesses (with emphasis on WN fever).

Testing of mosquitoes and bird blood samples. Under contract with MDHSS, personnel at Southeast Missouri State University speciate vector mosquitoes trapped by local health departments around the state and test them for evidence of various arboviruses. SEMSU staff also test bird blood samples collected by the USDA.

Dead bird surveillance. One area in which the public can help is in the reporting of dead bird sightings. MDHSS encourages citizens to report such sightings to their city or county health department for assessment, investigation, and possible submission of specimens for testing. Dead birds are tested at the University of Missouri-Columbia, Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory (VMDL). Results are usually available in about one week from the time the specimens are received.

At this time, only crows, blue jays, and raptors (birds of prey) will be tested, since these species are the most susceptible to WNV infection.

The VMDL has other WNV diagnostic tests (e.g., live bird serology, equine serology, etc.). Local public health agencies, veterinarians, and zoological parks can contact this laboratory at 1-800-862-8635 to arrange for additional testing at their own expense.

Just Jake Talkin'


Hopefully today’s issue has more information about the Nile Virus than you’ll ever need. Even though humans are unlikely to contract the disease, it’s good ta take some precautions and not put yourself in a spot that would up your chances.

‘Course the best situation is ta stay away from skeeters. With the City just havin’ sprayed a week or so ago, those of us livin’ here in town have a real advantage. Those livin’ outside of the spray area just have ta be a little more careful.

Like always it helps for folks ta take notice if they notice a bird that has died for no apparent reason. The County Health Department will come take a look if ya call. There doesn’t seem ta be anything ta panic about, just usin’ a little common sense.

This is some fact, but mostly,

Just Jake Talkin’



Carthage Printing Services

Weekly Column


By Amy Anderson

So the kids are heading back to school, and you want to make a good impression by reading along with them. Well, while they are studying Dick and Jane or Shakespeare, you can get ahead on your travel reading. The assignment: Check out all the wonderful things that make our country the unique cultural and historical playground that it is. By the time you’re ready for your next vacation, you’ll have some ideas to make it educational as well as entertaining.

"America Bizarro" by Nelson Taylor (St. Martins, $14.95)

This book is a gem, and it is chock-full of wonderful festivals, parade days, outrageous contests and other areas of interest to the Americana connoisseur. Taylor takes us state by state, from Tuscumbia, Alabama’s Coon Dog Graveyard Celebration (a sort of shady event paying respect to the coon hunting dogs of the Tennessee Valley) to Douglas, Wyoming’s Jackalope Days (honoring a sort of mythical animal with the body of a jackrabbit and the horns of an antelope).

"An American Festival of World Capitals" by Laura Bergheim (Preservation Press, $14.95)

Bergheim brings to life the culture of world capital-ism: from the offbeat (Bigfoot Capital of the World, Willow Creek, Calif.) to the well-known (Chocolate Capital of the United States, Hershey, Pa.). She also covers rivalries (the collective disputed capitals of barbecue, watermelons, etc.). A bonus is the monthly listing of special events, i.e. the festivals for which these capitals are so famous.

"Little Museums" by Lynne Arany and Archie Hobson (Henry Holt, $17.95)

A veritable treasure of information about offbeat and little-know museums, Arany and Hobson pay tribute to special collections everywhere. Suprisingly complete, this little book packs in more than a thousand museums across the country.


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