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Tire disposal is Saturday

September 27, 2002|by SCOTT BUTKI

scottb@herald-mail.com

Washington County Health Department officials are encouraging county residents to help with the fight against the West Nile virus by participating in Tire Amnesty Day on Saturday.

Removing tires from property can reduce the odds of exposure to the mosquito-borne virus, Health Officer William Christoffel said.

"Tires are an excellent breeding ground for mosquitoes," Christoffel said Thursday.

The event, sponsored by the Maryland Department of the Environment and the Washington County Solid Waste Department, drew 176 tons of tires last year, about 30 tons more than expected, Recycling Coordinator Harvey Hoch said Thursday.

This is the fourth time Washington County has held a tire amnesty day, Hoch said.

At its Sept. 17 meeting, the Washington County Commissioners agreed to a request by Christoffel to expand from one to seven the number of sites where county residents can, at no charge, dispose of up to six tires. Previously the Forty West Landfill was the only drop-off site.

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Seven people have been tested for West Nile virus in Washington County. One of them, who lives in Myersville, in Frederick County, has tested positive, Christoffel said.

A preliminary test indicates a Washington County woman who is older than 50 also tested positive but those results are awaiting confirmation, he said.

People older than 50 and those with weakened immune systems are most susceptible to medical problems related to the virus, Laurie Bucher, Washington County Health Department's director of environmental health, has said.

Less than 1 percent of the population who get the virus experience flu-like symptoms, such as fever, headache and muscle aches, Bucher said.

There are probably many people who have the virus who do not realize it, Christoffel said.

With frost expected to arrive soon, health officials plan to hold off on spraying until the next mosquito season starts next spring, Bucher told the commissioners at Tuesday's meeting. The hope is that the frost will eliminate the mosquito population this fall, she said.

Based on inspections and complaints the health department has, health officials have begun injecting larvacide in stagnant water areas around the county, Bucher said.

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