Louisville Public Health testing mosquitoes for West Nile
Doctors could soon be facing another infectious disease other than Zika.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – Doctors could soon be facing an infectious disease other than Zika.
Samples of mosquitoes with West Nile virus collected by the Department of Public Health and Wellness were found in the 40214 zip code, which encompasses a large area between the Watterson Expressway and Gene Snyder Freeway and west of I-65 near Iroquois Park.
“I live in the south end, and the mosquitoes down here are pretty bad,” said Harmony Pitts, who brings her son to Iroquois Park. "Every time you go outside, they are ready to attack you.”
So far, there have not been any positive West Nile tests in people in Louisville, but doctors say there should still be some concern.
“For the vast majority of people who get exposed to it, it’s really not an issue,” said Paul Schulz, an infectious disease doctor for Norton Healthcare.
In 2015, there were three people infected with West Nile virus.
“It's somewhat like most things,” Dr. Schulz said. “We tend to worry most about the most fragile members of the community, and that's typically going to be at the extremes of age.”
Those people who do experience symptoms are mild.
“Some people may experience fever, chills, headaches,” Dr. Schulz said. “Some people may have gastrointestinal symptoms.”
Less than 1 percent of all cases end up being serious, but those that are can cause serious neurological issues like meningitis.
“Those cases are much more severe and can actually kill or permanently harm people,” Dr. Schulz said.
Metro Public Health and Wellness lists the following ways to help avoid mosquito bites:
- Use insect repellents when you go outdoors. Repellents containing DEET, picaridin, IR3535, and some oil of lemon eucalyptus and para-menthane-diol products provide longer-lasting protection. To optimize safety and effectiveness, repellents should be used according to the label instructions. More information about insect repellents can be found here.
- When weather permits, wear long sleeves, long pants and socks when outdoors. Mosquitoes may bite through thin clothing, so spraying clothes with repellent containing permethrin or another EPA-registered repellent will give extra protection. Don't apply repellents containing permethrin directly to skin. Do not spray repellent on the skin under your clothing.
- Take extra care during peak mosquito biting hours. Take extra care to use repellent and protective clothing from dusk to dawn or consider avoiding outdoor activities during these times.
- Mosquito-Proof Your Home
- Install or repair screens on windows and doors to keep mosquitoes outside. Use your air conditioning, if you have it.
- Help reduce the number of mosquitoes around your home by emptying standing water from flowerpots, gutters, buckets, pool covers, pet water dishes, discarded tires and birdbaths on a regular basis.
Mosquito complaints can be called into 574-6641.
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