West Nile virus detected in mosquitoes in Shelby County

(Source: Tayler Davis/KSLA News 12)
Published: Jul. 19, 2021 at 3:26 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Mosquitoes are hard to avoid during this time in the summer.

Shelby County’s Environmental Health Administrator Kasia Smith-Alexander says July and August are when the number of mosquitoes typically increase.

“A lot of mosquitoes are coming out. It’s warm weather outside. We’ve had a lot of rainy weather. So this is the type of season that we expect to see a lot of mosquitoes out,” Smith-Alexander said.

The Shelby County Health Department has found mosquitoes that tested positive for West Nile virus in the following 11 zip codes so far this summer:

  • 38103
  • 38106
  • 38108
  • 38109
  • 38111
  • 38116
  • 38117
  • 38122
  • 38128
  • 38002
  • 38017

No people have tested positive, and the health department is working to make sure that doesn’t happen.

“During the day we do have crews that go out that do what we call larva sighting. They are going out in ditches, roadways, anything that’s holding bodies of water,” said Smith-Alexander.

They are also sending out trucks at night Monday through Thursday to spray for mosquitoes.

But, rainy days also mean they have to hold off on spraying because it’s ineffective. Smith-Alexander says there is one way residents can help their efforts after it rains.

“We tell people if you’re in your backyard or property that’s yours, just make sure you walk the perimeter and dump and tip over anything that might be holding water. Something as small as a flowerpot,” she said.

If you plan on spending time outdoors, make sure to cover up your legs and arms and use bug spray containing DEET.

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