By Alex Haglund
Mosquitoes at Memorial Park in Nashville have tested positive for West Nile Virus, according to Babs Frederking, RN, of the Washington County Health Department.
Frederking has been testing populations of mosquitoes for the presence of West Nile and contacted the Nashville News about the Memorial Park mosquitoes. The testing that discovered the infected population was carried out on Friday, August 18.
“It’s a reminder that even this late in the season, people need to be aware of mosquitoes and take precautions,” Frederking said.
After discovering the West Nile mosquitoes, Frederking said that she applied extra larvacide in that area. She also stated that she had contacted the city streets department, which takes care of spraying at the park, and they will be doing extra spraying for adult mosquitoes there as well.
The area that the mosquitoes were in was the mill ponds, in the tree-shaded areas in the vicinity of the Nashville American Legion Hall.
Repellent And Protecting Yourself
People should be using mosquito repellent when they venture outdoors, particularly in areas where mosquitoes are more active than normal.
Frederking stated that using a repellent with at least 30-percent DEET (diethyltoluamide or N,N-Diethyl-meta-toluamide). This is best applied to clothing, rather than directly on the skin, as it can sometimes be irritating.
Wearing long sleeves and pants can also be a good idea, because it limits the amount of exposed skin for the bugs to snack on.
It is also a good idea to avoid heading out when mosquitoes are most active – most breeds in the United States are most active from dusk and dawn.
Mosquitoes can be active even into October – some lay their eggs at night and during cooler times.
If the weather is cooler and windows are open, be sure screens are in and are in good condition so that they can’t get into your residence.
Get Rid Of Breeding Spots
A big part of controlling mosquitoes is limiting spaces that they can lay their eggs in – and that means getting rid of stagnant, still water.
A very popular breeding spot is old tires, as they can hold a tiny bit of water no matter how they’re turned. Recycling these or at least drilling holes in them to allow for drainage can eliminate this refuge.
Other wet spots, bird baths, dog dishes and spots like that, should be dumped out at least once a week.
Signs Of Infection
Rashes, raised red spots and itching at the site of a bite are normal reactions to a mosquito bite.
West Nile Virus is a virus carried by mosquitoes and can cause febrile illness, encephalitis (inflammation of the brain) or meningitis (inflammation of the lining of the brain and spinal cord). The incubation period, the time between the bite and the symptoms manifesting, is usually two to six days, but it can be as long as two weeks.
Most people, 70 to 80 percent of those infected with the virus, will show no symptoms at all.
About 20 percent of those infected with West Nile will have febrile illness – headaches, bodyaches, joint pain, vomiting, diarrhea or rash. Typically, patients with these symptoms recover fully, but fatigue and weakness can last for weeks or months.
Finally, a small portion of those infected can exhibit severe neurological symptoms. Those with these types of symptoms may exhibit permanent effects, even after a long period of recovery.
Those most likely to develop symptoms to West Nile and to develop the more severe of those symptoms, are at-risk populations. According to Frederking, “people that have their immune systems compromised, or the very young or the elderly,” are the most at-risk.
Despite the seriousness of West Nile, the precautions work and are the best way to avoid any issues. If someone does notices any of the symptoms listed above, please contact your doctor or healthcare provider, or visit the hospital – seek diagnosis and treatment quickly.
Bird Testing And More Information
Birds can also be infected by West Nile. If anyone in our reading area notices any unusual dead birds, please contact Frederking at the health department, she can arrange for the bird to be picked up and then sent off to be tested for the disease.
The Washington County Health Department can be reached at (618) 327-3644.
More information on West Nile Virus and mosquito safety can be found online at www.cdc.gov/westnile or at www.dph.illinois.gov/topics-services/diseases-and-conditions/west-nile-virus