3 of 5 West Nile Virus cases in TN were in Shelby Co. - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

3 of 5 West Nile Virus cases in TN were in Shelby Co.

(WMC-TV) – Throughout the state of Tennessee, there have been five human cases of West Nile Virus confirmed. Three of those were reported in Shelby County.

The three cases in Shelby County include a 48-year-old woman, a 63-year-old woman, and a 25-year-old man.

Shelby County may be dealing with West Nile Virus for several more weeks to come. Action News 5 learned the mosquitoes that carry the virus will continue to breed and could present a risk until after the first frost of the year.

Dr. Dan Sprenger with the Vector Control Program says the county is seeing a surge.

"We're establishing some kind of 10 year cycle where the disease lessens and then it comes back," he said.

Mosquitoes carrying West Nile have been discovered in all Shelby County zip codes and what may come as a surprise, those mosquitoes are more prevalent in the city.

Action News 5's Jerica Phillips asked why the bugs are gravitating toward the urban areas of Memphis.

"The mosquito that spreads the West Nile Virus is called the house mosquito," Sprenger answered.

For those of you who enjoy sitting on your front porch or in your backyard late in the evening, Dr. Sprenger warns that mosquitoes come out at night and those with West Nile are circulating about two-thirds of Shelby County.

"Those people who are sitting outdoors and not wearing repellant are exposed to this mosquito," said Dr. Sprenger. "It really is up to people to heed the warning about wearing repellant and sitting outdoors at night."

The Centers for Disease Control say about four out of five people who are infected with West Nile Virus will not show any symptoms.

Some symptoms one could experience include high fever, headache, skin rash, convulsions, and paralysis.

Here are some tips from the health department to prevent yourself from getting bit:

  • Wear DEET-containing mosquito repellants according to label directions
  • Eliminate standing water where mosquitoes can lay eggs. Check properties for objects - including old tires, flower pots and drip plates, tin cans, buckets, and children's toys - that collect rainwater and either drain or dispose of the water
  • Install or repair windows and door screens
  • Empty, clean and refill birdbaths and small wading pools weekly
  • Empty and refill pets' water bowls every few days
  • Repair failed septic systems
  • Repair leaky outside faucets
  • Clean rain gutters and down spouts
  • Secure swimming pool covers tightly and remove any standing water after rainfall
  • Store wheelbarrows, canoes and boats upside down
  • Stock ornamental lawn ponds with fish (Gambusia) that eat mosquito larvae (Gambusia fish are available FREE from the Vector Control Program)

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