Although St. Louis County Department of Health officials tells Patch there are no reported human cases of West Nile Virus in St. Louis County, the department is stepping up its mosquito spraying efforts in order to prevent the spread of the virus.
The health department announced the details of its plan in a news release and stated that the "dramatic increases" in human cases of West Nile in other states is a factor in the decision to increase prevention methods.
As previously reported by Patch, mosquitoes have tested positive for West Nile in St. Louis County. Health officials stated that September is a "prime month" for mosquitoes and West Nile so spraying will be beefed up in order to combat the virus.
Spraying will take place in the morning, evening and overnight.
The following information was included in the health department's news release.
Even though no human cases of WNV have been detected in St. Louis County, dramatic increases in the number of cases in Illinois, Texas and Arkansas have demonstrated the need to boost spraying, said Vector Control Operations Manager Drew Hane.
“An extra team of vector control employees will spray strategic areas in the early morning hours this week to reduce the number of breeding adult mosquitoes and knock down any that may be carrying WNV,” Hane said. The morning team will supplement the evening and overnight spraying efforts.
Even though WNV mosquitoes are most active during the evening, overnight and early morning hours, there are steps residents can take to reduce the population:
- At least once a week, drain water from garbage cans, buckets, toys, flowerpots, wading pools, pet dishes, and other objects that collect water. Change water in birdbaths at least once a week.
- Keep gutters cleaned out and repair any tears in door and window screens.
- Wear long-sleeved shirts, long pants and light colors outdoors.
- Spray clothing with repellents containing DEET or picaridin, making sure to follow the directions on the label.
- Look for products containing the active ingredient methoprene or Bti (Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis) to place in birdbaths or ponds to prevent mosquitoes from developing.
The St. Louis County Department of Health website offers a general spraying schedule and specific spray routes will be available each evening by calling the hotline at 314 615-4BUG (314 615-4284).