The latest lab report has confirmed the presence of West Nile Virus (WNV) in mosquitoes in the Milligan Street area of east Knoxville. Following Centers for Disease Control and Prevention protocol, the Knox County Health Department (KCHD) will spray for mosquitoes in the affected area Thursday, Oct. 2 between 9 p.m. and midnight, weather permitting, to reduce the mosquito population and the risk of WNV spreading to humans. Follow-up spraying will be conducted Thursday, Oct. 16, weather permitting.
“Typically, we begin seeing positive mosquito pools in July or August and have sprayed at least once by now,” said KCHD Director of Environmental Health Ronnie Nease. “Fortunately, we’ve made it this far into the year without any positives.”
The east Knoxville spray area includes North Cherry Street, north of Magnolia Avenue, west of North Beaman Street and South of I-40. Also included are Lakeside and Kirkwood Streets and American Avenue. A map of the area to be treated is attached. Signs will be posted in the affected areas to alert residents, who are asked to stay inside during spraying and keep pets inside or in the backyard.
KCHD advises all residents to:
- Wear appropriate clothing and repellant when outside and mosquitoes are present;
- Dispose of, regularly empty or turn over any containers holding water on your property;
- Make sure roof gutters drain properly and water doesn’t pool in them;
- Change the water in birdbaths at least once a week; and
- Use a mosquito repellant that contains DEET (the chemical N-N-diethyl-meta-toluamide) and follow the directions on the label. Pregnant women and those who are concerned about using repellent products on children should consult their health care provider for advice.
Certain weather conditions can compromise the effectiveness of the spray; therefore, spraying will be rescheduled in the event of rain, winds exceeding 10 mph or if temperatures approach 55 degrees.
To address the public health concerns caused by mosquitoes, KCHD conducts a West Nile Virus control program during the summer and fall months. As the weather warms each spring, public health professionals begin a weekly process of trapping and testing mosquitoes for WNV, a mosquito-borne disease which can infect humans, horses and birds. From March until the first frost, KCHD also uses larvicides in areas with standing water to prevent mosquito proliferation. More information on the WNV control program and prevention tips are available by calling (865) 215-5200 or by clicking here.