The latest lab report has confirmed the presence of West Nile virus (WNV) in Culex mosquitoes in the Gibbs area of North Knox County. In addition, a bird in the Fountain City area of North Knoxville has tested positive for WNV. Following Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) protocol, the Knox County Health Department (KCHD) will spray for mosquitoes in these areas on Tuesday, Sept. 19 between 8:45 p.m. and 2 a.m., weather permitting, to reduce the Culex mosquito population and the risk of WNV spreading to humans. Signs will be posted in the affected neighborhoods to alert residents, who are asked to stay inside during spraying and keep pets inside or in the backyard. Spray area details are below, maps are included.
To prevent mosquito bites and reduce mosquito habitats, officials recommend the following:
- Apply repellants to skin often; these can include lotions, liquids or sprays. The CDC recommends the use of repellants that contain DEET, Picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus or para-menthane 3, 8-diol, and IR3535. The duration of protection varies by repellant; read labels on products to determine when reapplications are necessary for optimal protection.
- Wear long, loose and light-colored shirts and pants and wear socks.
- Treat clothing with permethrin or purchase pretreated permethrin clothing.
- Dispose of, regularly empty, or turn over any water-holding containers on your property such as tires, cans, flower pots, children’s toys or trash cans.
- To prevent breeding in large water-holding devices, including bird baths or garden pools, use larvicides such as mosquito torpedoes or mosquito dunks. If used properly, larvicides will not harm animals.
- More tips can be found at: http://www.knoxcounty.org/health/mosquitoes.php
Crows and jays contract WNV from mosquitoes, but they do not transmit it to humans. They are part of the CDC protocol for West Nile virus surveillance: they are a sentinel or an indicator of the presence of the virus in an area. While there is no evidence a person can contract WNV from handling live or dead infected birds, officials urge the public to avoid bare-hand contact with any dead animal. Barriers such as gloves may be used if handling a dead bird is unavoidable, such as when discarding the bird.
Fountain City spray area:
Gresham Road to Vitex Drive; Vitex Drive; Hillock Road; Aralia Lane; Popular Place; Oak Road; Ridgewood Road from Broadway to Oak Road; Colonial Circle; Montbelle Drive; Grove Drive to Gresham Road; Peyton Place; Campus Lane; Holbrook Drive north of Gresham Road; Lynnwood Drive from Gresham Road to Glenhaven Road; Leisure Way; Glenhaven Road to Lynnwood Drive; Brief Road; Garden Drive to Templeton Road; Templeton Road; Quite Way; Secluded Way; Watagua Drive to Boxwood Garden Way; Boxwood Garden Way; Corum Drive and part of North Broadway will be treated Tuesday, Sept. 19, weather permitting. Follow-up spraying is scheduled for Tuesday, Oct. 3.
Gibbs spray area:
Gibbs Ruritan Park; part of Irwin Drive just north of Tazwell Pike; part of Lett Road just north of Karnes Road; Rocky Meadow Lane; a portion of Karnes Drive; Country Rose Lane; Tazewell Pike from Twin Oak Lane to Staley Road; Staley Road; a portion of Gibbs Road just south of Tazwell Pike; and Branson Road will be treated Tuesday, Sept. 19, weather permitting. Follow-up spraying is scheduled for Tuesday, Oct. 3.
A complete schedule of mosquito sprayings is available at knoxcounty.org/health. Any decisions to reschedule sprayings based on weather conditions, such as rain, low temperatures or high winds, will be made at the time of spraying and will be announced the following morning.
To reduce the risk of mosquito-borne disease, 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. These efforts are in addition to KCHD’s work to assess and monitor for other mosquito-borne illnesses. More information is available by calling 865-215-5200 or visiting www.knoxcounty.org/health.