West Nile Virus Present In Shelby County

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Based on collections of mosquitoes made on June 2 and 3, the Memphis and Shelby County Health Department has received a positive confirmation that the West Nile virus is present within the 38107 zip code area.

Given this information, the Health Department will begin treating bodies of water in the 38107 zip code on Monday, June 15 to prevent the emergence of additional mosquitoes. This method of treatment is known as larviciding and is approved by the Environmental Protection Agency. In addition, other bodies of water will continue to be treated throughout Shelby County until the fall season.

As an additional precaution, the Health Department will also apply EPA-approved mosquito adulticide products in portions of the following zip codes: 38103, 38104, 38105, 38107, 38108, 38112, and 38127 on Monday from 8:30-11:30 p.m. Residents who do not want their residences to be sprayed should contact the Health Department's Vector Control unit at 901-324-5547.

"The announcement today that the West Nile virus is present in Shelby County is no surprise," said Daniel Sprenger, Ph.D., an entomologist with the Health Department. "During the mosquito season, we expect mosquitoes that are carrying the virus to be present. However, beyond the action that the Health Department takes, we encourage residents to be vigilant as well."

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For example, citizens are encouraged to:

1. Wear DEET-containing mosquito repellants according to label directions. This is also recommended by the Centers for Disease Control.

2. Eliminate standing water where mosquitoes can lay eggs. Citizens are asked to check their property for objects that collect rainwater and either drain or dispose of the water.

3. Install or repair window and door screens.

Evidence of West Nile virus - a viral disease of wild birds spread by infected mosquitoes - has been ongoing in Shelby County since 2001. Outbreaks usually decline in October. Dogs and cats appear to not be susceptible to West Nile virus.

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