BERKELEY, Mo. (KMOX) — Concerns that the nationwide West Nile Virus outbreak might spread to Missouri has St. Louis County Health Department officials stepping up their mosquito spraying schedule.
County vector control manager Drew Hane tells KMOX the recent rains dumped on the region by Isaac and this week’s humid forecast adds a degree of danger. “When we have warm weather that follows rain … mosquitoes mature into adults faster.”
Hane says they’ll be spraying all throughout the county but concentrating on areas where West Nile-positive mosquitoes have been caught in traps. He acknowledges that may stretch the budget a bit, but says they’ll keep spraying as long as needed. “If we got to run all the way into Halloween or the end of October we are going to step up and do what it takes.”
St. Louis County Health officials announced Tuesday they have their first probable human case of the West Nile Virus.
Dr. Faisal Khan, director of communicable diseases for St. Louis County Health Department says the victim is a 55 year old Kirkwood woman who has since resumed normal activities after suffering West Nile Virus-type symptoms. Her name has not been released.
So far nine human West Nile cases have been reported in Missouri, one in St. Louis City, one in St. Charles County, and the latest in St. Louis County. St. Louis County had two confirmed human West Nile cases last year. Last week, Missouri health officials said the death of a 78-year-old man from Laclede County was the first fatality in the state blamed on West Nile. Illinois has had 67 West Nile cases and two deaths, but none in the Metro-East.
Dr. Khan says West Nile Virus symptoms range from “mile fever, backache, rash” to something more disruptive like, “state of confusion or prolonged fever.” Typically, most West Nile cases are reported in August and September.
Khan says individuals over 50 are considered at greater risk for contracting the virus and displaying mild to moderate symptoms. His advice for protection, wear long sleeves and long pants if outside at dusk or dawn.
County health officials remind residents to eliminate opportunities for mosquitoes to breed and multiply by removing any standing water around their property and using repellents. You can see a schedule of neighborhoods targeted for spraying by logging onto the county health department’s website.