“We’ve been fogging for mosquitoes twice a week covering the whole city since the month of May,” said Paul Williams, Hazelwood Street Maintenance Department supervisor. “The extreme heat and drought conditions we had this summer cut down on the number of mosquitoes in our area because there was very little standing water where their larvae could hatch. But the milder temperatures may cause the mosquito population to grow which is why we’re prepared to continue our mosquito fogging efforts until October.”
In addition to fogging, the City of Hazelwood has been using “dunks” which are products that kill mosquito larvae. Most mosquitoes lay their eggs in standing water where the larvae hatch in a day or two. They need water in which to pass through their early life stages. The “dunks” have proven to be effective in reducing the mosquito population. Hazelwood can install “dunks” for residents who are experiencing mosquito problems on their property. Simply call the Street Maintenance Department at (314) 731-8701 to make an appointment.
It’s important for residents to know that most mosquitoes do not carry the West Nile virus. Only four cases of the virus have been reported in the state of Missouri this year. One of the victims, a 78-year-old man, from Laclede County apparently died. But doctors believe other medical conditions may have been contributing factors.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 80% of the people who get bit by a West Nile-infected mosquito do not get sick. Roughly 20% will have relatively mild symptoms, such as a fever, headache and vomiting. These symptoms usually last a few days or as long as a couple of weeks. Only 1 in 150 people infected with West Nile may develop a severe illness, which can include paralysis, coma, or death. Another fact to remember is that this virus is not contagious. It is only transmitted through mosquito bites.
Seventy-five percent of the recent West Nile virus cases have occurred in Texas, Mississippi, Louisiana, South Dakota, and Oklahoma. Texas has been at the epicenter of the recent outbreak, with 586 confirmed cases and 21 deaths, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services.
Residents can help prevent getting infected by the West Nile virus by following these simple steps:
- Use insect repellent with DEET
- Wear long sleeves and pants at dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are most active
- Install or repair window and door screens to prevent mosquitoes from entering the house
- Drain any standing water, such as kiddie pools and bird baths, where mosquitoes like to breed
For more information on this topic, visit the St. Louis County Department of Public Health’s West Nile Virus Information Center at http://www.scchealth.org/docs/wnv/index.html. To report problem areas where mosquitoes are out of control, contact Hazelwood’s Public Works Department at (314) 513-5031.