West Nile Virus in Knoxville

West Nile Virus Facts | Johnson Pest Control SeviervilleWe’ve reported on the West Nile Virus a number of times. We have highlighted when West Nile Virus was first reported in Tennessee. In the latest mosquito and West Nile Virus news the Knox County Health Department announced that is going to be spraying for mosquitoes in the West Hills and West Kingston Pike areas.

They will be spraying from 9pm to midnight. This is after mosquitoes would complete one of their most active period of feeding and laying eggs (dusk). The other active period is dawn.

From WBIR:

(WBIR – KNOXVILLE) A second round of spraying for mosquitoes will take place, weather permitting, 9 p.m. to midnight Thursday in the Tower Drive area of North Knoxville.

The Knox County Health Department conducted an initial round of spraying Aug. 30 in the area.

Also, the West Hills and West Kingston Pike areas are scheduled for follow-up spraying 9 pm. to midnight Sept. 17.

The Health Department is asking residents in those areas to avoid going outside and keep pets indoors during spraying.

The Health Department only sprays when mosquitoes test positive in an area for the West Nile virus, which has been reported in several humans in Tennessee including Blount County.

West Nile can cause illness in humans, including fever.

Less than 1 percent of infected people develop a serious, sometimes fatal neurologic illness, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

If you are in areas that are heavily populated with mosquitoes then it is a good idea to protect yourself and your family. Put on some longer sleeved clothing and pants, put on mosquito repellent with DEET. Go through some of the preventative measures around your home to keep mosquitoes away. You can even suggest similar prevention measures to your work facility teams.

If you find yourself displaying symptoms of West Nile Virus seek medical assistance immediately.

UPDATE from WBIR:

The new areas are at and around Milligan Street in East Knoxville and the East Emory Road area of North Knox County. Spraying will be 9 p.m. to midnight there, weather permitting.

The Health Department reminds residents to stay inside and keep their pets inside while spraying is going on.

Signs will be posted in affected areas to alert residents.

West Nile Virus in Tennessee

West Nile Virus Facts | Johnson Pest Control Sevierville

West Nile Virus makes its appearance in Tennessee at some point every year. Nashville Metro Public Health officials have alerted that the West Nile Virus has been found in mosquitoes in their area.

Metro Public Health Department’s Pest Management Division has its first positive tests of West Nile after trapping mosquitoes near the intersection of 28th Avenue North and Clifton Avenue. So far, Davidson County residents have escaped contracting the virus this year.

To detect the West Nile Virus officials will collect swaths of mosquitoes from various areas to test for the presence of the virus. This finding is not due to a local resident being diagnose with the West Nile Virus.

So how can you protect yourself from getting the West Nile Virus?

The health department recommends that people decrease their risk to exposure by limiting time outdoors at dusk and night, wearing an effective mosquito repellant and wearing socks, long-sleeved shirts and pants. Screens on windows and doors should also be in good repair.

People can also protect themselves by removing items from their yard that collect water and by cleaning clogged gutters.

There are other methods you can implement to deminsh the mosquito population that we’ve highlighted on this site before. Use mosquito repellant plants, you can even grill away some of the bugs to keep mosquitoes at bay. This report is from Nashville, but West Nile Virus has been in our Knoxville area before and taking precautions is always a good idea.

Tennessee Bugs that Hurt

Tennessee Bugs that HurtThere are a lot of bugs out there in the world that do nothing but look weird and freak us out. However, there are a number of bugs here in that actually do pose a danger to humans either through carried diseases or poisonous bites. So from West Nile to the Brown Recluse here is a pretty good run down of Tennessee bugs that can cause a little hurt.

This article from the Murfreesboro Post (middle Tennessee) highlights a handful of the bugs that you need to be concerned over.

For years I tended to not worry too much about being bitten by mosquitoes, ticks or other common insects.

For years I tended to not worry too much about being bitten by mosquitoes, ticks or other common insects.

Although I considered the bites a nuisance, I didn’t pay much attention to the need for protection from these aggravating pests.

Times have changed, though. Now we all should be paying heed to the warnings from experts to avoid being bitten by local ticks, mosquitoes and spiders.

The most common pesky bites come from mosquitoes. In our area some mosquitoes are carriers of the West Nile Virus. Each year local health departments will confirm through testing that a small percentage of local mosquitoes are carrying West Nile virus.

Not all mosquitoes carry the virus. The question is whether you really want to play the mosquito lottery. It is impossible to know which ones carry the virus and which do not.

There is no reason to panic, but caution and prudence is advised. Even those that are bitten by a mosquito carrying West Nile have a relatively small chance of becoming seriously ill.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), West Nile virus will cause a fever and flu like symptoms in about one out of five people who are infected.

For some unfortunate victims, however, the disease can be serious or possibly even fatal. Fortunately less than 1 percent of those infected will be subject to the serious neurological illness (meningitis or encephalitis) that can be fatal.

However, the outcome of the serious consequences of the disease can be so tragic that it is a good idea to use repellants wisely.

Many people are also concerned about Lyme disease after a tick bite.

In our area Lyme disease can be transmitted by a tick bite and can be a very serious disease, but it is still very rare. Although the problem is significant in Northern states, in the South is it not a widespread. Less than a dozen confirmed cases are reported on average annually in Tennessee.

However, Lyme disease can be very serious if an infection occurs. Widespread arthritic pain and other symptoms can go on for years. Treatment with antibiotics is necessary if Lyme disease is confirmed.

The disease is carried primarily by deer ticks, which can be identified as a small tick with a black spot on their back.

Although many people including some health care providers believe that another tick known as the Lone Star tick also carries Lyme disease, the CDC refutes this belief. The Lone Star tick can be distinguished by a white spot on the back.

Although it does not carry Lyme disease, the Lone Star tick has been implicated in causing severe red meat allergies that can result in serious illness.

Tennessee ticks also may be carrying Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. Although the name Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever (RMSF) may lead one to assume it is primarily a problem in Western states, in fact Tennessee is one of the states where the disease is more widespread.

As the name implies, people that have been infected will often have an occurrence of a rash that is associated with wide spread red spots. The illness can be very severe or possibly fatal in some individuals.

A couple of common spiders can be a problem for Tennesseans. The Brown Recluse spider is quite common in businesses, homes, storage sheds and other buildings in the area.

As the name implies the brown recluse tends to avoid people and will only bite if injured. This can happen accidentally in beds, furniture, when putting on shoes or boots or in other circumstances. If the spider cannot escape and a body part ends up pressing against it, a bite can occur.

Brown recluse spider bites can cause local tissue damage that can result in permanent loss of tissue. It is very rare that wide spread damage occurs.

Black widow spiders can be found around household foundations, under rocks and logs and in other outdoor places. These spiders are a deep glossy black with a bright orange or red hourglass shape on their underside.

Contrary to legend, black widow bites are not likely to be deadly and rarely cause permanent damage to the victim. The bite can cause very severe pain and other symptoms that can last for a week or more however.

Taking the time to teach family members how to avoid being bitten by these insects is the best plan to avoid the potentially serious consequences of a bite.

West Nile Virus Facts

West Nile Virus Facts | Johnson Pest Control Sevierville**Article originally published at CNN.com

West Nile virus is an illness spread by infected mosquitoes. More than 1,700 people have died of West Nile virus in the United States since it was first detected in New York City in 1999.

West Nile Virus Facts:

  • Symptoms of West Nile infection include: fatigue, fever, headache, body aches, rash and swollen lymph nodes.
  • Those who become ill may develop West Nile encephalitis, an inflammation of the brain.
  • There is no vaccine or specific treatment for West Nile virus.
  • According to the CDC, only 1% of people bitten by West Nile-infected mosquitoes become seriously ill.
  • 1937 – The first case of West Nile virus is reported in Uganda. It is common throughout Africa, Central Asia and the Middle East.
  • August 1999 – The first cases of West Nile encephalitis in the Western Hemisphere are reported in the Bronx and Queens boroughs of New York City. It is not known how the virus arrived in the United States.

West Nile Virus Statistics:

  • 2014 – 1,444 cases of West Nile virus have been reported in 47 states and the District of Columbia, with 49 deaths.
  • 2013 – 2,469 cases of West Nile virus were reported in 47 states and the District of Columbia, with 119 deaths.
  • 2012 – 5,674 cases of West Nile Virus were reported in 48 states, Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia with 286 deaths.
  • 2011 – 712 cases of West Nile virus were reported in 44 states and the District of Columbia with 43 deaths.
  • 2010 – 1,021 cases of West Nile virus were reported in 40 states and the District of Columbia with 57 deaths.
  • 2009 – 722 cases of West Nile virus were reported in 37 states and the District of Columbia, with 33 fatalities.
  • 2008 – 1,356 cases of West Nile virus were reported in 42 states, with 44 fatalities.
  • 2007 – 3,598 cases of West Nile virus were reported in 43 states, with 121 fatalities.
  • 2006 – 4,269 cases of West Nile virus were reported in 43 states and the District of Columbia with 177 fatalities.
  • 2005 – 3,000 cases of West Nile virus were reported in 42 states with 119 fatalities.
  • 2004 – 2,535 cases of West Nile Virus were reported in 40 states and the District of Columbia with 98 fatalities.
  • 2003 – 9,862 cases of West Nile Virus were identified in the United States with 264 fatalities.
  • 2002 – 4,156 cases of West Nile Virus were reported in 39 states and the District of Columbia with 284 fatalities.
  • 1999-2001 – 149 cases of West Nile virus were reported in the United States with 18 fatalities.

As you can see the growth of West Nile Virus has not stopped within the last decade. Only in the last two years has some measure of control seemed to be achieved from West Nile virus. Still, the need for awareness and prevention is there. If local authorities alert you to the presence of West Nile virus take the threat seriously.

Knox County Mosquito Spraying and West Nile Virus

mosquito spraying west nile virus knox county We have highlighted a few times over the spring and summer ways to keep mosquitoes from making you and your family a gallon club blood donor. The biggest fear with mosquitoes these days comes with the presence of West Nile Virus (What is West Nile Virus). Unfortunately for us here in East Tennessee the West Nile Virus has had its first confirmed case in Knox County.

In response local authorities will begin spraying for mosquitoes around the county.

The Knox County Health Department will spray for mosquitoes for the first time this year on Thursday.

Testing for the West Nile Virus started in May, but the first positive results didn’t turn up until now, which is a little unusual.

“This is the first pool we’ve had that’s tested positive all summer, which we felt very fortunate that we’ve not had any West Nile to show up in humans, horses or mosquitoes, so we are very fortunate to have gone this long without having any West Nile Virus in our community,” said Ronnie Nease, the Director of Public Health for the the Knox County Health Department.

Your neighborhood may not have been tested to have a presence of West Nile, but it more than likely has some mosquitoes. Here are a few quick tips to keep prevent mosquitoes from congregating around your home.

  1. Clean Up Standing Water: Do an inspection around your house and look for pooling water in the yard, on the side of the home (garden hoses are culprits), in pet bowls, flower pots, trash can lids, etc. No amount of water is too little. Remove the standing water by spreading it out, drying off, or whatever means is needed. This is get rid of mosquito breeding areas. This practice is the single most proactive measure to keeping mosquitoes away.
  2. Use Some Prevention: You can create some gardens or grow some plants that will help to keep the mosquitoes away. Putting on some DEET or citronella can assist in keeping the mosquitoes from finding you and your home appealing.
  3. Get a Treatment: If you want something immediate you can get your yard and outside of the home treated for mosquitoes. Treatments today will be effective on into colder fall and winter months. You can do that now and then worry about building those cool bug free gardens in the beginning of spring.

If you suspect that you, your family members, or friends may have contracted West Nile Virus we encourage you to visit the hospital. Most times the WNV is not fatal, but it is a hassle and getting the proper diagnosis and treatment will get everyone back onto life as normal sooner rather than later.

What Is Chikungunya? Is it the next West Nile Virus?

The Tennessean alerted us to the possible first diagnosis of a new mosquito borne disease ‘chikungunya’.

The Tennessee Department of Health said Tuesday it is investigating the first potential cases of chikungunya virus in the state. It is a mosquito-borne disease that is circulating in the Caribbean. Tennesseans who traveled there are showing symptoms of the disease.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a warning in December about chikungunya when it was first reported detected on Caribbean islands — the first confirmed cases of the virus being contracted in the Americas.

“This is often a terribly painful and uncomfortable illness with no vaccine to prevent it and no specific treatment for those infected,” said Tennessee Health Commissioner Dr. John Dreyzehner. “Recovery can be prolonged, so prevention is the only good option.”

Symptoms include fever, headache, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, muscle pain, rash and joint pain.

Dr. James Crowe Jr., a Vanderbilt University professor and member of the Chikungunya Task Force Global Virus Network, said the disease is likely to become endemic here just as West Nile virus has and could establish a foothold in the United States in the next year.

“It’s just a matter of when, not if it will,” Crowe said.

The disease gets its name from an African language and, roughly translated, means “bent over in pain,” said Dr. William Schaffner, a professor of infectious diseases at Vanderbilt University.

“The acute phase of the illness is relatively brief,” Schaffner said. “It is less than a week, usually three or four days. But those are three or four very uncomfortable days. Then about 10 percent to 15 percent of people have persistent joint aches and pains that can come and go for months thereafter.”

The disease is not usually fatal.

Outbreaks of chikungunya have occurred in areas across the globe, but as of now there has never been an outbreak in the United States.

What Is Chikungunya?

According to the Center for Disease Control’s homepage for chikungunya has yet to recognize a diagnosis for the disease in the US as of now, but indicates that it expects it.

Chikungunya virus is not currently found in the United States. There is a risk that the virus will be imported to new areas by infected travelers. There is no vaccine to prevent or medicine to treat chikungunya virus infection. Travelers can protect themselves by preventing mosquito bites. When traveling to countries with chikungunya virus, use insect repellent, wear long sleeves and pants, and stay in places with air conditioning or that use window and door screens.

According to the CDC chikungunya is a mosquito transmitted virus infection that will cause fever, headaches, muscle pain, joint swelling, or a rash.  Chikungunya has not been known to be a fatal virus infection. There is no medicine to treat chikungunya virus infection or disease. To decrease the impact of symptoms it is advised to, get plenty of rest, drink fluids to prevent dehydration, take medicines (such as ibuprofen, naproxen, acetaminophen, or paracetamol) to relieve fever and pain.

How Do They Find West Nile Virus?

West Nile Virus | Johnson Pest ControlSpring is here and with spring comes mosquitoes. With mosquitoes comes the inevitable news of some mosquito being found to have West Nile Virus. West Nile Virus is a mosquito born illness that was isolated, for a time, to the Nile river of Eastern Africa. In recent decades though the WNV has gone completely global. In cases the WNV has been known to be fatal if left untreated.

How Do They Find West Nile Virus?

If you watch the news you will hear a few times a year that ‘authorities have found a mosquito positive for west nile virus’. If you are like me you immediately wonder, ‘How in the world did they find that one mosquito which had the West Nile Virus?’

Come to find out, the process is not that complicated.

  1. First you grab a good sized sample of mosquitoes from a particular area. Biologists, entomologists, wildlife professionals will use a ovitrap, carbon dioxide, light, or other trap to collect a large sample of mosquitoes in a particular area. If there are dead animals, namely birds, in the area the experts might test the animals/birds for west nile virus to tip them off that the virus is in the area.
  2. The mosquito sample collected will then be tested through a reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction test, know as RT-PCR for short (we had to look it up). This will help scientists to spot the west nile virus in a mosquito or other animal.
  3. Authorities will then report their findings to local entities as well as the Center for Disease Control, which keeps some pretty solid data on the movements of west nile virus.

So when the news says that biologists found a mosquito that tested positive for West Nile Virus you can tell everyone at the party that it was this big process of catching a bunch of mosquitoes and then testing them to determine the presence of west nile in your area.

Keeping Mosquitoes Away

To keep mosquitoes away local authorities will put resources into minimizing the mosquito populations. Sprays or water treatments to ponds or reservoirs are areas that officials will focus on. Around your home you can do similar things to prevent the growth of mosquitoes as well. Eliminating standing water, having a professional spray treatment done as well as protecting yourself and family with DEET or permethrin on your body or clothes respectively will help to keep mosquitoes and West Nile Virus exposure at minimums.

Currently there is no direct treatment for West Nile Virus. Medical professionals will utilize a host of options for replacing fluids, rest, and other ailments. However there still is no cure or vaccination.

Keep current with the CDC website and the information they list for local and national trends.