Tennessee Gears Up for Mosquito Season

Several counties in the state of Tennessee have begun their mosquito monitoring drive as the summer season-as well as mosquito season-draws near to prevent the spread of West Nile virus in the area.  In Chattanooga-Hamilton County, the Health Department has urged its residents to take simple steps to repel mosquitoes.

West Nile virus is carried by mosquitoes and can cause illness to humans.  According to data gathered at Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, most people who contract West Nile virus do not show any symptoms.  However, about 20% of those infected would experience symptoms ranging from mild such as fever, headache, nausea, and vomiting, to the more severe illnesses like hepatitis. 

Director of the County Health Department’s Environmental Services Bonnie Deakins said, "The important thing to remember is to protect yourself from mosquito bites when you are going to be outside.  We want people to enjoy their spring and summer free of West Nile virus."

Some of the activities conducted during mosquito season include surveillance, which is a critical early warning system for detection of West Nile virus.  In Hamilton County, the Health Department’s Vector Control Program conducts a surveillance program that collects and tests mosquitoes to check for West Nile virus. 

Meanwhile, residents can also pitch in and monitor for WNV by delivering dead blue jays or crows, with no decay, that have mysteriously died on their property to the Environmental Health section of the Health Department.  Residents are advised to pick the bird using a glove or clear plastic bag and put the dead bird in two layers of clear, leak-proof bags.

Residents are also encouraged to control the mosquito population by eliminating breeding sites within their property.  Any area that collects stagnant water can turn into a breeding ground for the mosquitoes that transmit the virus, which is why it is very important to empty or discard objects that hold water, especially after rainfall.

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