|August 19, 2010 - It’s summertime and the skeeters are busy. Knox County Health Department (KCHD) has received another lab report confirming the presence of West Nile Virus (WNV) in mosquitoes in the Milligan Street area of East Knox County near the zoo. Following national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention protocol, the affected area will be sprayed to reduce the mosquito population and the risk of further WNV spread.
Spraying is scheduled for Sunday, Aug. 22 from 9 p.m. to midnight. Follow up spraying will be on Sunday, Sept. 5. Signs will be erected in the affected area to alert residents, who are asked to stay inside during spraying. Public health officials will work with the zoo to assist in spraying their property.
"We monitor this site closely because it has an area of standing water which has tested positive for the last few years,” said Ronnie Nease, KCHD director of Environmental Health. “In fact, it was almost exactly a year ago when we sprayed last year.”
Spraying will occur in the area bordered by the eastern end of North Cherry Street, north of East Magnolia Avenue, west of Prosser Road, south of Kenilworth Lane, east of North Park Boulevard and south of Cecil Avenue. A map is enclosed for your reference.
To address the public health concerns caused by mosquitoes, KCHD conducts a mosquito control program during the summer months. Every year, as the weather begins to warm, 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.
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 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:
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 865-215-5200 or online at www.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.
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.