LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) – The West Nile virus has been confirmed in five Louisville residents, according to the Kentucky Department for Public Health.
The cases were reported in the 40203, 40209, 40214, 40217 and 40219 zip codes.
“We’re going to see it every year. We expect it. It’s not unusual, it’s just with the amount of rain this year, we’re seeing more mosquitoes and that can unfortunately lead to more West Nile cases,” said Connie Mendel, the Deputy Director of Louisville Metro Public Health and Wellness.
Public health officials said four of the five cases were neuro-invasive, meaning the virus attacked the brain or the tissues lining the brain and spinal cord leading to encephalitis or meningitis.
Health officials say fall is the worst time of the year for mosquitoes–it’s typically when they see the most cases of West Nile Virus.
And since it’s been such a rainy season, the region is seeing more mosquitoes–which means a possibility for more cases.
“This is actually when mosquitoes are at their worst,” said Mendel. “They start out in very low numbers in the spring, females lay their eggs in batches over the summer, and in the fall their numbers are at their greatest.”
The Department of Public Health and Wellness advises people to take the following precautions:
Avoid Mosquito Bites
- Use insect repellents when you go outdoors. Repellents containing DEET, picaridin, IR3535 and some oil of lemon eucalyptus and para-menthane-diol products provide longer-lasting protection. To optimize safety and effectiveness, repellents should be used according to the label instructions. More information about insect repellents can be found here.
- When weather permits, wear long sleeves, long pants and socks when outdoors. Mosquitoes may bite through thin clothing, so spraying clothes with repellent containing permethrin or another EPA-registered repellent will give extra protection. Don’t apply repellents containing permethrin directly to skin. Do not spray repellent on the skin under your clothing.
- Take extra care during peak mosquito biting hours. Take extra care to use repellent and protective clothing from dusk to dawn or consider avoiding outdoor activities during these times.
Mosquito-Proof Your Home
- Install or repair screens on windows and doors to keep mosquitoes outside. Use your air conditioning, if you have it.
- Help reduce the number of mosquitoes around your home by emptying standing water from flowerpots, gutters, buckets, pool covers, pet water dishes, discarded tires and birdbaths on a regular basis.
Mendel also said to get rid of any standing water, no matter how small the puddle.
“A female will lay her eggs in standing water and five days later you can have hundreds of mosquitoes hatch off from a small puddle,” Mendel said.
Residents can see if their neighborhood has been fogged for mosquitoes by calling (502) 574-6641 or clicking here. Residents can make a request concerning mosquitoes in their neighborhood by calling 311 or (502) 574-5000.
No West Nile deaths have been reported this year. In 2017, there was one non-fatal case of West Nile reported in Louisville.