Saturday, May 28, 2011

Fight is on against mosquitoes, West Nile virus after flooding

The fight is on to rid Western Kentucky of a mosquito infestation  worsened by recent flooding. Treatment to kill adult mosquitoes began Wednesday night, The Gleaner of Henderson reports.

The effort is partly to prevent the spread of the West Nile virus, a potentially serious illness. Mild infection can result in fever, headache, body ache and a skin rash. Severe infection, which affects about 1 in 150 infected people, can lead to high fever, disorientation, sleepiness and even coma, paralysis and death. Mosquitoes can transmit the infection to humans with a bite. (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention diagram)

The state's plan is a two-part process, killing adult mosquitoes and their larvae. It uses aerial spraying over 700,000 acres in Western Kentucky, concentrating on areas along or near waterways where flooding was most problematic. Planes will spray from dusk until after midnight until treatment is complete. Afterward, ground crews with the Transportation Cabinet will treat against mosquito larvae in standing water. The state Department of Agriculture will also spray ditch lines along roads. Chemicals used in the treatments are only harmful to mosquitoes, gnats and black flies, a state press release reads. It is safe for humans, pets and livestock.

Residents are asked to eliminate standing water in containers on their property and wear insect repellent and long-sleeved clothing. (Read more)

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