The St. Louis County Department of Health said mosquitoes have tested positive for West Nile Virus in St. Louis County.
According to the health department, mosquitoes in Florissant have tested positive for the virus, but as of Thursday afternoon, there are no reports of positive mosquitoes in the .
"That could change tomorrow," John Shelton, a spokesperson for the health department told Patch.
Shelton said mosquitoes carrying West Nile Virus have been discovered across St. Louis County, including Lemay, Manchester, Mehlville, Richmond Heights, Clayton and Hanley Hills.
"We're just at the start of the mosquito season, so we'll be getting more reports as the summer goes on. Just because their neighborhood wasn't listed in this first round doesn't mean they won't be found later on," Shelton said. "Every year we get West Nile mosquitoes everywhere, so there's no place that is immune from them or protected from them."
Shelton said no human cases of West Nile have been reported.
“Positive mosquito tests are a reminder that preventative measures are important,” St. Louis County Health Department Director Dr. Dolores J. Gunn said in a news release. “Even though serious West Nile Virus cases in humans are rare, it is important to minimize our exposure. We can do this by eliminating opportunities for mosquitoes to breed and multiply, and protect ourselves by using repellents,” Dr. Gunn said in the release.
"The best thing people can do is take responsibility for their property," Shelton said.
The health department released the following steps for residents to take to reduce the opportunities for mosquitoes to flourish:
- At least once a week, drain water from garbage cans, buckets, toys, flowerpots, wading pools, pet dishes and other objects that collect water. Change water in birdbaths at least once a week.
- Keep gutters cleaned out and repair any tears in door and window screens.
- Wear long-sleeved shirts, long pants and light colors outdoors.
- Spray clothing with repellents containing DEET or picaridin, and make sure to follow the directions on the label.
- Look for products containing the active ingredient methoprene or Bti (Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis) to place in birdbaths or ponds, to prevent mosquitoes from developing.
- A flexible drainage pipe is commonly used to drain water from downspouts. A big drawback is that it holds water and breeds mosquitoes if not properly sloped when installed.
For more information on mosquito prevention, contact the County Vector Control office at 314-727-3097 or visit the St. Louis County Department of Health Department’s website.
The Health Department is also routinely collecting mosquito samples for testing to determine areas where control efforts need to be focused.
For more information call 314-615-4-BUG (615-4284) for the St. Louis County nightly mosquito-spraying schedule.