Health and Family Services Cabinet
Department for Public Health urges prevention as state enters fifth West Nile Virus season
FRANKFORT, Ky. (June 10, 2005) -- The Department for Public Health (DPH) urges Kentuckians to take simple precautions to prevent mosquito bites for protection against West Nile virus.
“The summer season is here and with it the need for Kentuckians to protect themselves from mosquito bites that could result in illness,” said William Hacker, M.D., DPH Commissioner. “Last year was a mild season for West Nile infection in the state, but it’s still important to keep up simple precautions such as wearing insect repellent and reducing standing water around your property.”
DPH continues to work with local health departments and the Kentucky Department of Agriculture as the state enters its fifth West Nile Virus season. West Nile virus is spread through the bite of infected mosquitoes. Testing to identify positive birds, horses and mosquito pools infected with West Nile virus will continue. Human cases will be monitored as well.
This year the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has added to its recommended arsenal of products that fight the bite. In past years, the CDC had recommended repellents containing the chemical DEET. The CDC continues to say that DEET is most effective, but CDC experts have added two others to its list of recommended repellents – picaridin and oil of lemon eucalyptus. Picaridin has long been used in other countries and is an ingredient in at least one repellent sold in the United States. Oil of lemon eucalyptus has long been sold in a variety of sprays and lotions. According to the CDC, oil of lemon eucalyptus should not be used on children under three years old.
DPH advises all Kentuckians to take precautions to avoid mosquitoes and suggests these tips to reduce the risk of becoming infected with the virus:
Remove all standing water that accumulates because it provides a breeding area for mosquitoes.
Stay indoors at dawn, dusk, and early evening when mosquitoes are most active.
Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants when you are outdoors.
Spray clothing with repellents containing permethrin, DEET (N, N-diethyl-m-toluamide), picaridin, or oil of lemon eucalyptus, since mosquitoes may bite through thin clothing.
Apply insect repellent sparingly to exposed skin. Be sure to read and follow the manufacturer’s “Directions for Use” printed on the product.
The Kentucky Department of Agriculture sprays for mosquitoes at the request of local governments and health departments. A schedule of the counties where the KDA will be spraying can be found on the Web by going to http://www.kyagr.com and clicking on the 2005 Mosquito Spraying Schedule.
Further information on West Nile Virus is available on the DPH Web site at http://chfs.ky.gov/dph/epi/westnile/ or on the CDC Web site at http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvbid/westnile/.
The CDC’s public response hotline is also available to take questions on West Nile virus. The number is: 1-888-246-2675 (English); 1-888-246-2857 (Spanish); 1-866-874-2646 (TTY).