| August 28, 2009 -
Knox County Health Department (KCHD) has received lab reports confirming the presence of West Nile Virus (WNV) in mosquitoes in two areas of Knox County. Following national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention protocol, the affected areas will be sprayed to reduce the mosquito population and the risk of further WNV spread. WNV is a mosquito-borne disease which can infect humans, horses and birds.
Spraying for both areas will be on Sunday, Aug. 30 from 9 p.m. to midnight. Follow up spraying will be on Sunday, Sept. 13. Signs have been erected in the affected areas to alert residents who also are asked to stay inside during spraying.
“We strongly recommend that everyone wear appropriate protective clothing to protect themselves from mosquito-borne illness,” Said Ronnie Nease, KCHD director of Environmental Health. “That means if you are outside when mosquitoes are prevalent, wear protective clothing such as long pants, long-sleeved shirts and socks, and use a mosquito repellant containing DEET.” (NOTE: More mosquito control tips are below for your reference.)
This is the second positive test for the northeast Knoxville area, which has been sprayed twice during August. Subsequent tests of the same area have come back negative until this week. Health officials are now expanding the treatment area and increasing surveillance. (See the enclosed map labeled Northeast Knoxville) The targeted spraying area in northeast Knoxville includes the eastern end of North Cherry Street, north of Arch Street, east of Chestnut Street, north of Wilson Avenue, west of Fern Street and Prosser Road, south of Buffat Mill Road, east of Whittle Springs Road and north of Cecil Avenue.
The other positive sampling was in North Knoxville (identified by the attached map labeled I-275 North Corridor) and is located on the east end of College Street, east of Western Avenue, north of Broadway, west of Central Avenue, south of West Woodland Avenue, south of West Oldham Avenue, east of Reed Street and south of Beaumont Avenue.
To address the public health concerns caused by mosquitoes, Knox County Health Department (KCHD) conducts a mosquito control program during the summer months.
Every year, as the weather begins to warm, KCHD public health professionals begin trapping mosquitoes around the county, testing batches weekly for West Nile Virus. WNV affected areas are sprayed with an approved mist when needed to reduce the mosquito population. Application is recommended between the hours of 9 p.m. to midnight when mosquitoes are most active. From early in the spring until the first frost, larvicides also are used in areas with standing water to prevent mosquito proliferation.
TIPS FOR CONTROLLING MOSQUITOES
Eliminating breeding areas is an important factor in controlling the mosquito population. KCHD urges the public to reduce breeding sites around their homes by following these tips:
Dispose of, regularly empty, or turn over any water holding containers on your property such as tires, cans, flowerpots, or trashcans.
Drill holes in the bottom of recycling containers that are left outdoors.
Make sure roof gutters drain properly and water doesn’t stand in them.
Change the water in birdbaths at least once a week.
Turn over plastic wading pools and wheelbarrows when not in use.
Keep swimming pools, outdoor saunas and hot tubs clean and properly chlorinated;
Remove standing water from pool covers.
TIPS FOR PROTECTING YOURSELF FROM MOSQUITO-BORNE ILLNESS
It also is important for residents to take necessary precautions against West Nile Virus during outside activity, either by proper clothing or insect repellant. The best way to protect yourself and your family is to keep mosquitoes from biting you. During mosquito season (generally April through October), take the following precautions:
Limit outdoor activities between dusk and dawn, if possible, since this is the time of greatest mosquito activity.
If you are outside when mosquitoes are prevalent, wear protective clothing such as long pants, long-sleeved shirts and socks.
Use a mosquito repellant that contains DEET (the chemical N-N-diethyl-meta-toluamide); and
Follow the directions on the label. If you are concerned about using repellent products on children you may wish to consult a health care provider for advice or contact the National Pesticide Information Center (NPIC) through their toll-free number at 1-800-858-7378 or npic.orst.edu.
More information on the mosquito control program and the treatment schedule are available by calling 215-5200 or online at http://knoxcounty.org/health/vector_mosquito_control.php. KCHD also provides the West Nile Virus Fact Sheet and the Public Health Fact Sheet discussing insect bites and repellents. All informational materials may be reproduced and distributed as needed. A Mosquito control technician is available to discuss mosquito control at community groups or neighborhood association meetings.
Knox County Health Department (KCHD) is committed to promoting public health policies and practices that safeguard and improve quality of life for all residents. KCHD offers an array of resources, including medical and dental services, family planning, disease surveillance and control, emergency preparedness, air quality management, environmental services, food preparation oversight in public places, special nutritional programs for women with children and much more. For more information, visit www.knoxcounty.org/health.