Health and Family Services Cabinet
Kentucky Department for Public Health Urges Public Awareness as State Enters Sixth West Nile Virus Season
FRANKFORT, KY (May 23, 2006) – The Kentucky Department for Public Health (DPH) urges Kentucky residents to take caution as the weather warms up in order to protect against West Nile virus.
“As the summer season approaches, we would like to remind Kentuckians to protect themselves from mosquito bites that could result in illness,” said William Hacker, M.D., commissioner of public health and acting undersecretary for health at the Cabinet for Health and Family Services . “Last year we witnessed an increase in West Nile virus activity in surrounding states, and Kentucky experienced one death related to the illness.”
DPH continues to work with local health departments and the Kentucky Department of Agriculture (KDA) to control and aid in West Nile virus surveillance and mosquito control in the state. The virus is spread through the bite of an infected mosquito. Testing to identify positive birds, horses and mosquito pools will continue so that areas of positive West Nile virus activity can be targeted for mosquito-reduction interventions.
Kentuckians are reminded that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend using repellent products that contain the chemical DEET. Repellent products containing Picaridin and oil of lemon eucalyptus can be used as an alternative to products that contain DEET. According to the CDC, oil of lemon eucalyptus should not be used on children under three years of age. All products should be used as directed on product labels.
DPH wants Kentuckians to remember that dogs and cats are also susceptible to WNV illness, so please use a veterinarian-recommended mosquito and tick repellent, following the manufacturer’s directions.
DPH continues to advise all Kentuckians to take precautions to avoid mosquitoes and suggests these tips to reduce the risk of becoming infected with the virus:
- Remove all objects in the yard that may lead to the accumulation of standing water, which provides breeding areas for mosquitoes.
- Report all swimming pools that have been neglected and are in a state of disrepair to the environmental section of your local health department.
- Remember that mosquitoes are most active during dawn and dusk. 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, but cover all exposed areas. Be sure to read and follow the manufacturer’s directions.
KDA sprays for mosquitoes at the request of local governments and health departments. A detailed schedule of the counties where the KDA will be spraying can be found online when the mosquito spraying season begins this month at http://www.kyagr.com in the Division of Environmental Services section under the 2006 Mosquito Spraying Schedule.
Further information on West Nile virus is available on the Kentucky Department for Public Health’s Web site at http://westnile.ky.gov. The Web site will be updated as new information becomes available. Information is also available on the CDC Web site at http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvbid/westnile/.
The CDC’s public response hotline is also available for questions on West Nile virus at 1-888-246-2675 (English); 1-888-246-2857 (Spanish); 1-866-874-2646 (TTY).