Following several reports of West Nile virus cases emerging from around the state and region, Floyd County Health Department has offered some preventative advice.
FCHD Director Thursa Sloan says that while no cases of West Nile Virus have been reported in Floyd County, its still important for people to protect themselves. West Nile Virus is a disease most often spread by the bite of a mosquito.
“We haven’t had any reported cases,” said Sloan on Monday. “I’m a little surprised considering all the standing water.”
Sloan says that the best method of prevention is to make certain there aren’t any containers lying about collecting water that act as habitats for mosquitoes to lay eggs.
“Don’t leave out pots, or buckets, old tires, or anything for water to pool in.”
According to the Center For Disease Control, there are several steps you can take to protect yourself from a potential exposure to West Nile virus.
• When you are outdoors, use insect repellent containing an EPA-registered active ingredient. Follow the directions on the package.
• Many mosquitoes are most active at dusk and dawn. Be sure to use insect repellent and wear long sleeves and pants at these times or consider staying indoors during these hours.
• Make sure you have good screens on your windows and doors to keep mosquitoes out.
• Get rid of mosquito breeding sites by emptying standing water from flower pots, buckets and barrels. Change the water in pet dishes and replace the water in bird baths weekly. Drill holes in tire swings so water drains out. Keep children’s wading pools empty and on their sides when they aren’t being used.
Sloan says that last year’s extremely mild and warm winter has made the number of mosquitoes worse than in recent years.
Officials with the CDC say that about one in 150 people who become infected with West Nile virus may develop severe illness. Symptoms of a severe case of West Nile Virus may include high fever, headache, neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness, vision loss, numbness and paralysis.
As of September 4, 2012, 48 states have reported West Nile virus infections in people, birds, or mosquitoes. A total of 1,993 cases of West Nile virus disease in people, including 87 deaths, have been reported to CDC.