First Human Case Of West Nile Virus Confirmed In Shelby County In 2017

MEMPHIS, Tenn ( - The Shelby County Health Department has confirmed the first human case of West Nile Virus in 2017 in Shelby County.

The reported case is also the first human case confirmed in the state of Tennessee.

At this time, WNV has not been detected in any ZIP codes within Shelby County using trap collections and state testing. But, with this confirmed human case,  WNV is present.

Due to the unseasonably warm winter temperatures, the SCHD Vector Control Program began treating areas within all ZIP codes by applying larvicides to standing bodies of water in February.

As an additional precaution, SCHD will conduct scheduled truck-mounted sprayings of EPA-approved insecticides, weather permitting, in specific ZIP codes once the presence of WNV has been confirmed.

Truck-mounted spraying only effectively kills adult mosquitoes currently flying at the time the insecticide is released.

Mosquito populations are often at their peak between May and October.

There is no human vaccine for WNV, so, people are strongly encouraged to be vigilant when controlling mosquito populations around their homes and businesses. Eliminating the potential for standing water to accumulate around homes and businesses is one of the most effective ways to help reduce the mosquitos.

WNV can occasionally cause severe complications, but, most infections are mild, resulting in fever, headache and body aches lasting only a few days. Symptoms of severe disease include a high fever, neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, coma or convulsions. People over the age of 50 and those with compromised immune systems are at higher risk of severe disease.

In 2016, there were six confirmed human cases of WNV statewide, two of those in Shelby County. One of the total confirmed cases ultimately resulted in death.

A table containing WNV statistics for Shelby County dating back to 2002 can be found at


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