HILLSBORO, Mo. – The Jefferson County Health Department is dealing with what they've called a health emergency after two collections of adult mosquitos tested positive for the West Nile Virus. These two collections were from the cities of Kimmswick and Arnold and collected near the end of June.
Thousands of people will be attending the county fair, which opens Thursday evening at 5 p.m. and runs through Sunday. The county health department is taking an aggressive approach in fighting the problem.
Many areas throughout the county will be sprayed for mosquito control and prevention.
Typically, the spraying is done after 8 p.m. into the early morning hours. Also, the vector and surveillance program has set dozens of traps throughout the county. Tests are being done weekly, sometimes daily, on the mosquito samples collected.
The virus is spread through the bite of a mosquito that had been feeding on an infected bird.
So far, no new West Nile mosquitos have been discovered and the health department is working hard to fight this problem.
“We have one of the leading programs in the state. Our program is focused on more than just pest management and focused on more than just the annoyance of the mosquitos and we treat this as any other disaster,” said Trey Hull with the Jefferson County Health Department.
According to the CDC, 80 percent of the people who become infected don’t have symptoms, but some develop flu-like symptoms, which can last for weeks or even months. Such symptoms include, but are not limited to: fever, headache, body ache, fatigue, nausea, and rash.
The most serious cases of West Nile can be deadly.
The elderly are more at risk of getting sick because their immune system is often weaker.
To help stop the spread of West Nile, health officials want people to wear insect repellent with DEET and remove standing water sources that breed mosquitoes like birdbaths, gutters, and the bottoms of flower pots.
“Take a couple of minutes and make that they're using appropriate and effective insect repellant things that contain DEET 20 to 50 percent,” said Hull.