A person in Jefferson County has tested positive for West Nile virus.
Health officials say the patient actually suffered from a more severe strain of the illness known as West Nile Neuro-invasive disease. Residents of Jefferson County are being reminded to take precautions such as using insect repellents. Another tip, wear light-colored clothes in areas where mosquitoes are active.
To report a mosquito-breeding source in Jefferson County call 636-797-3737.
West Nile has remained out of the public discussion for much of the summer. Health officials tell KTRS News, the threat is not over.
"I'm happy that we're half way into August and--knock on wood--we haven't had any person get sick with West Nile Virus," says Drew Hane, manager of Vector Control in St. Louis County.
He says that despite below average temperatures it is still plenty warm for the mosquito population to grow. The increase in precipitation from this year compared to last has caused the mosquito population to explode. This presents a unique problem, "If it was 4% of mosquitoes last year and we've got twice as much population and it's still 4%, you're now twice as likely to run into those 4% of mosquitoes because there are so many out there."
Hane says the best protection is still an insect repellent with deet or picaridin.
West Nile virus is present in mosquitoes in St. Louis County. A delay in the results from the lab used by the health department caused a lag in reporting the positive results. Drew Hane, manager of operations for St. Louis Vector Control, says West Nile is appearing in mosquitoes sporadically across the county, but there are areas with higher concentrations.
"We are pretty heavy in the North County area; so Jennings, unicorporated Florissant, Dellwood, Bellefontaine Neighbors, Spanish Lake, those areas we are seeing quite a few traps come back with samples that are positive for West Nile virus", Hane says.
Hane urges residents in those areas to be especially vigilant in reducing exposure to mosquitoes. They are encouraged to eliminate standing water from property and use bug sprays that contain deet or picaradin. Vector Control does perform spraying in some areas of St. Louis County. More information on spray routes and the schedule can be found by calling 314-615-4BUG (4284) or by clicking here.
Mosquito populations are exploding compared to last year. Hane tells KTRS News that some of their mosquito traps have already captured as many bugs as they did through the end of August last year. The increase in mosquito population could lead to an increase in the number of human cases of West Nile. The first human cases of West Nile typically present in late July or early August.
Mosquitoes carrying the West Nile virus are in the metro area.
The Madison County Health Department announced that a mosquito batch collected from just outside Granite City, Illinois tested positive for the virus. Officials say the best way to avoid West Nile is to practice the "Three R's".
- REDUCE exposure - avoid being outdoors when mosquitoes are most active, especially between dusk and dawn.
- Make sure doors and windows have tight-fitting screens. Repair or replace screens that have tears or other openings. Try to keep doors and windows shut, especially at night.
- Eliminate all sources of standing water where mosquitoes can breed, including flowerpots, wading pools, old tires and any other receptacles. Change water in bird baths weekly.
- REPEL - when outdoors, wear shoes and socks, long pants and a long-sleeved shirt, and apply insect repellent that contains DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus or IR 3535, according to label instructions. Consult a physician before using repellents on infants.
- REPORT - In communities where there are organized mosquito control programs, contact your municipal government to report areas of stagnant water in roadside ditches, flooded yards and similar locations that may produce mosquitoes.
Last year 290 Illinois residents were infected with the virus and 12 died.
Additional information about West Nile virus can be found on the Illinois Department of Public Health’s Web site at www.idph.state.il.us/envhealth/wnv.htm or contact Madison County Health Department at (618) 296-6079 or visit our website at http://www.madisonchd.org/west-nile-virus-vector-surveillance.shtml
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - Illinois public health officials say the state's confirmed the year's first batch of mosquitoes that have the West Nile virus.
Officials said Monday that the mosquitoes were found in the Cook County community of Hillside.
Last year, the virus was found in 55 of the state's counties and nearly 300 people contracted the illness. Twelve died.
No human cases have been found so far this year.
LaMar Hasbrouck is the director of the Illinois Department of Public Health. He says the spring flooding is causing an increase in mosquitoes - both the kind that carry the virus and those that don't.
Most people with West Nile will never show symptoms, but for others it can be fatal.