MEMPHIS, Tenn. (localmemphis.com) – Mosquitoes with the West Nile virus have been found in two zip codes in Shelby County, Tennessee, and the numbers are expected to go up.
Humans here aren’t carrying the virus yet and the Shelby County Health Department is trying to keep it that way.
“The weather is the main thing,” said Dr. Mark Castellaw, the Medical Director at Baptist Medical Group. “We had such a mild winter, and now we’ve had such a warm, wet spring, the mosquitoes are just flourishing.“
The health department says mosquitoes carrying the West Nile virus were found in the 38115 and 38118 zip codes. That covers Parkway Village, Hickory Hill, and Southeast Memphis.
“I have a little, it’s like a little dining area in my front porch and there’s a lot of mosquitoes around there all the time,” said Michael Jones, who in the 38118 zip code.
Mosquitoes mainly lurk around stagnant water.
“Just a drop or two of water for the larvae to survive,” said Dr. Castellaw. “So I would recommend everyone at their home to walk around you yard. Look for things that could be holding water.“
Last year three people in the county died from the West Nile virus.
“If we can go after them before they’re babies, before they hatch, this is the best way to do that,” said Kasia Smith-Alexander, the administrator of Environmental Health Services. “So we are larvae sighting.“
We wanted to know why they aren’t spraying yet.
“Because it is in only two zip codes, it wasn’t really wide-spread as far as across Shelby County,” said Smith-Alexander. “Normally around that time we do begin adulticiding, spray, usually if we have a human case we begin to spray.“
Virus symptoms can include high fever and rashes. The elderly and people with weaker immune systems are at a higher risk.