June 11, 2013

News Release

For Immediate Release

Mosquito prevention can protect against West Nile Virus

As the wet spring turns into a wet and warm summer, the Springfield-Greene County Health Department reminds local residents that they can take a few simple steps to prevent the mosquito population growth and to protect themselves from mosquitoes.

Mosquitoes are capable of transmitting diseases such as West Nile Virus (WNV), which can cause flu-like symptoms such as fever, headache, body aches, nausea or vomiting. Less than 1 percent of mosquitoes are infected with WNV, however.

Most people who get WNV do not develop symptoms. If they do, symptoms can last for as short as a few days, though even healthy people have become sick for several weeks. Severe cases can result in death. Last summer saw the highest number of West Nile Virus cases in the United States since the disease was first detected in this country in 1999, with more than 5,600 confirmed cases and 286 deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention. There is currently no vaccine to prevent the disease. Texas and Oklahoma were especially hard hit last year, with more than 1,800 cases in Texas alone.

To reduce the mosquito population:

To avoid mosquito bites:

The Springfield-Greene County Health Department works to protect the health of Springfield residents by:

Health Department staff responds with these services only to areas where a request has been made, and there are no general "fogging" or other mass insecticide programs within the City of Springfield or Greene County. To reach the department's environmental services staff about mosquitoes, call (417) 864-1017.

"Mosquito prevention is largely the responsibility of property owners and private citizens in our community," said Karen Prescott, Environmental Health Administrator with the health department. "In general, they are more of an annoyance than a threat to human health, but there are some risks in play so we ask citizens to do their part."

More information:

Media contact: Mike Brothers, Public Information Administrator, (417) 874-1205.

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Harold K. Bengsch Building

227 E. Chestnut Expwy. • Springfield, MO 65802
417-864-1658 • health.springfieldmo.gov