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St. Louis County boosts anti-mosquito efforts

Mosquitoes with the West Nile virus have been found in St. Louis County for the first time this sumemer
(via Flickr/John Tann)

A big jump in human cases of West Nile Virus in Illinois, Texas and Arkansas is prompting St. Louis County to boost its spraying to combat mosquitoes.

"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 West Nile Virus," Vector Control Operations Manager Drew Hane said. That team is a supplement to evening and overnight spraying efforts.

The county health department is urging residents to take the following steps:

  • 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. The county says this will be especially important after the remains of Hurricane Isaac come through over the weekend.
  • 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.

Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show just six human cases of the virus in Missouri, with just one in St. Louis County. A Laclede County man is the state's only death.

Follow Rachel Lippmann on Twitter: @rlippmann

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