Mosquitoes Still Pose a Threat Despite Cooler Weather
Public urged to wear insect repellant, long pants and sleeves when outdoors
The Department of Public Health and Wellness is reminding people that despite cooler weather, mosquitoes are still active and continue to pose a threat for transmitting diseases such as West Nile virus. People should continue to guard themselves by wearing insect repellant and long sleeves and pants when going outdoors, especially at dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are most active.
This year there has been one death reported from West Nile in ZIP code 40211 and one other non-fatal case in ZIP code 40215. Mosquitoes have tested positive for West Nile in ZIP codes 40204, 40205, 40206, 40211, 40213, 40214 and 40215. It is also important to note that we have had no mosquitoes test positive for any diseases other than West Nile virus.
The Department of Public Health and Wellness is continuing countywide mosquito control actions, including treating catch basins, monitoring mosquito traps and testing mosquitoes for diseases, and fogging when necessary.
“Even though we can expect mosquito populations to begin to decrease as the weather gets cooler, West Nile positive mosquitoes may continue to be present throughout the entire community until the first hard frost,” said Dr. Sarah Moyer, director of the Louisville Metro Department of Public Health and Wellness. “If you go outdoors during dusk and dawn, you should wear long sleeves and pants and insect repellant to protect yourself. We advise everyone to take the appropriate precautions no matter what ZIP code you live in.”
The Department of Public Health and Wellness advises people to take the following precautions:
Avoid Mosquito Bites
- Use insect repellents when you go outdoors. Repellents containing DEET, picaridin, IR3535, and some oil of lemon eucalyptus and para-menthane-diol products provide longer-lasting protection. To optimize safety and effectiveness, repellents should be used according to the label instructions.
- Wear long sleeves, long pants and socks when outdoors. Mosquitoes may bite through thin clothing, so spraying clothes with repellent containing permethrin will give extra protection. Don't apply repellents containing permethrin directly to skin. Do not spray repellent on the skin under your clothing.
- Take extra care during peak mosquito biting hours. Take extra care to use repellent and protective clothing at dusk and dawn or consider avoiding outdoor activities during these times.
Mosquito-Proof Your Home
- Install or repair screens on windows and doors to keep mosquitoes outside. Use your air conditioning, if you have it.
- Help reduce the number of mosquitoes around your home by emptying standing water from flowerpots, gutters, buckets, pool covers, pet water dishes, discarded tires and birdbaths on a regular basis.
Last year there were four human West Nile cases in Louisville and no deaths. In 2017 there was one non-fatal human case. In 2016 there were two human cases and one death. In 2015, there were three human cases with no deaths.
In most instances, people infected with West Nile virus either show no symptoms or relatively mild symptoms. However, less than one percent of infected people develop a serious neurologic illness such as encephalitis or meningitis. Serious illness can occur in people of any age. However, people over 60 years of age are at the greatest risk for severe disease. People with certain medical conditions, such as cancer, diabetes, hypertension, kidney disease, and people who have received organ transplants, are also at greater risk for serious illness.
The Louisville Metro Department of Public Health and Wellness has operated a mosquito control program for more than 60 years. The department does surveillance of mosquito populations with traps strategically located throughout the community, and tests mosquitos for such diseases as West Nile, La Crosse, Eastern Equine and St. Louis Encephalitis.
In the spring the department pre-treats potential mosquito breeding sites with larvicide to prevent hatch offs. In the summer it treats catch basins and performs mosquito fogging in response to West Nile virus and other mosquito-borne diseases.
For more information on mosquito control and prevention, visit https://www.cdc.gov/westnile/index.html or www.louisvilleky.gov/health. If mosquitoes are bad in your neighborhood, file a complaint by calling MetroCall 311 or 502.574.5000.