The Saint Louis County Health Department has found the first mosquitoes of the season carrying West Nile Virus.
Mosquitoes testing positive for the virus have been found in St. Louis Co. communities including Clayton, Florissant, Hanley Hills, Lemay, Manchester, Mehlville, Richmond Heights.
No human cases have been reported.
Dr. Faisal Khan of the County Health Department says serious cases of West Nile Virus in humans are rare.
Dr. Khan says symptoms can include high grade fever, neck stiffness, tremors and convulsions. Most people who get West Nile Virus never know they have it, and clear the virus without need for treatment. People over age 50 are more susceptible to developing severe symptoms.
The County routinely collects mosquitoes to test for West Nile Virus and other diseases.
It also sprays pesticides in public areas with standing water, to kill mosquito larvae. The public can find out more about the County's nighttime mosquito-spraying schedule by calling (314) 615-4284.
Here are some steps the County recommends residents take keep mosquito populations down and reduce the chance of getting bitten:
- At least once a week, drain any water from garbage cans, buckets, toys, flowerpots, wading pools, bird baths, pet dishes, and any other areas where standing water collects.
- Keep gutters cleaned out.
- Repair door and window screens.
- When outdoors, wear long-sleeved shirts, long pants, and light colors.
- Spray clothing with mosquito repellents containing DEET or picardin, being careful to follow label directions, especially for children.
- Put tablets containing methoprene or Bti (Bacillus thuringensis israelensis) in birdbaths or ponds to kill mosquito larvae. Again, be careful to follow label directions.
- Check installation of flexible drainage pipes draining water from downspouts - these can hold water and breed mosquitoes, if not properly sloped when installed.
For more information on mosquito control, contact the County Vector Control office at (314) 727-3097 or visit the County Health Department's website.