Hazelwood Fogging Mosquitos to Minimize West Nile Virus Risk
With indications that the recent West Nile virus outbreak is the largest seen in the U.S., Hazelwood officials want residents to know that the city has taken proactive measures to control the mosquito population and the likelihood of a West Nile virus epidemic breaking out in the community is minimal.
“We’ve been fogging for mosquitoes twice a week covering the whole city since the month of May,” said Paul Williams, Hazelwood Street Maintenance Department supervisor. “The extreme heat and drought conditions we had this summer cut down on the number of mosquitoes in our area because there was very little standing water where their larvae could hatch. But the milder temperatures may cause the mosquito population to grow which is why we’re prepared to continue our mosquito fogging efforts until October.”
In addition to fogging, the City of Hazelwood has been using “dunks” which are products that kill mosquito larvae. Most mosquitoes lay their eggs in standing water where the larvae hatch in a day or two. They need water in which to pass through their early life stages. The “dunks” have proven to be effective in reducing the mosquito population. Hazelwood can install “dunks” for residents who are experiencing mosquito problems on their property. Simply call the Street Maintenance Department at (314) 731-8701 to make an appointment.
Most mosquitoes do not carry the West Nile virus. Four cases of the virus have been reported in the state of Missouri this year.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 80 percent of the people who get bit by a West Nile-infected mosquito do not get sick. Roughly 20 percent will have relatively mild symptoms, such as a fever, headache and vomiting. These symptoms usually last a few days or as long as a couple of weeks. Only one in 150 people infected with West Nile may develop a severe illness, which can include paralysis, coma or death. The virus is not contagious. It is only transmitted through mosquito bites.
Seventy-five percent of the recent West Nile virus cases have occurred in Texas, Mississippi, Louisiana, South Dakota and Oklahoma. Texas has been at the epicenter of the outbreak, with 586 confirmed cases and 21 deaths, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services.
Residents can help prevent getting infected by the West Nile virus by following these simple steps:
- Use insect repellent with DEET
- Wear long sleeves and pants at dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are most active
- Install or repair window and door screens to prevent mosquitoes entering the house
- Drain any standing water, such as kiddie pools or birdbaths, where mosquitoes like to breed
For more information on this topic, visit the St. Louis County Department of Public Health’s West Nile Virus Information Center at: /www.scchealth.org/docs/wnv/index.html.
To report problem areas where mosquitoes are plentiful, contact Hazelwood’s Public Works Department at 513-5031.
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