Mosquitoes test positive for West Nile Virus in St. Louis County

Mosquitoes test positive for West Nile Virus in St. Louis County

Mosquitoes carrying West Nile Virus have been discovered in St. Louis County, although no human cases have been reported this year, according to the county Department of Public Health.

“Positive mosquito tests are a reminder that preventative measures are important,” Dr. Faisal Khan, director of the department, stated in a news release. “Even though serious West Nile Virus cases in humans are rare, it is important to minimize our exposure. We can do this by eliminating opportunities for mosquitoes to breed and multiply, and by taking steps to prevent mosquito bites.”

Floodwater mosquitoes, which do not carry West Nile Virus, have also been emerging in recent weeks and are active in daylight hours as well as being attracted to bright lights at night.

Here are steps residents can take to reduce the opportunities for mosquitoes to breed and multiply:

• At least once a week, eliminate the sources of standing water around a home by draining garbage cans, buckets, toys, flowerpots, wading pools, pet dishes and other objects. Turn them over to prevent them from refilling with water.

• Fill any holes in the yard with sand or dirt.

• Drill holes in the bottom of tire swings to allow water to drain.

• Change the water in birdbaths at least once a week and keep all gutters clean.

• Treat birdbaths and ponds with products containing the active ingredient methoprene or Bti — Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis — to prevent mosquitoes from developing.

• Ensure that drainage pipes are properly sloped. Flexible drainage pipe is commonly used to drain water from downspouts, but if not properly installed, they can hold water and breed mosquitoes.

Residents can also prevent mosquito bites by doing the following:

• Repair any tears in door and window screens to prevent mosquitoes from entering a home.

• When outdoors, wear long-sleeved shirts, long pants, and light-colored, loose-fitting clothing.

• Spray clothing with repellents registered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that contain one of the following active ingredients: DEET, picaridin — also called KBR 3023, Bayrepel, and Icaridin — oil of lemon eucalyptus, para-menthane-diol, or IR3535. Always follow the directions on the label. Do not use products that contain oil of lemon eucalyptus or para-menthane-diol on children younger than 3 years of age, and never apply insect repellants of any kind to children under 2 months of age.

The Department of Public Health routinely collects mosquito samples to test and help determine where to focus control efforts. Its Vector Control program monitors and treats standing water in public areas as part of its preventative larviciding program.

To find out where the county will be spraying, call (314) 615-4-BUG (615-4284) for the nightly mosquito-spraying schedule.

For more information on mosquito prevention, contact the department’s Vector Control office at (314) 615-0680 or visit the department’s website at: