Tennessee has fewer West Nile Virus cases

Reported by: Erik Avanier
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Updated: 8/19/2013 6:56 pm
CHATTANOOGA, Tennessee(WDEF) - Despite a wet and soggy summer season in Tennessee, the state only has one confirmed case of the mosquito borne West Nile Virus.

Last year, there were 33 confirmed cases in humans and there were 18 the year before. So far, The number of positive West Nile Virus carrying mosquitoes is also down to 321 this year versus 916 last year and 995 the year before.

Mosquito Squad owner Brad Ledford said he was shocked by those numbers.

"We're 17 to 19 inches above normal on our rainfall and it surprises me that we haven't had many problems," Ledford said.

Health experts tell WDEF The rain that we've seen lately might increase the number nuisance mosquitoes but they're not the one that necessarily carry the West Nile Virus.

"The West Nile Virus carrying mosquitoes breed in containers. Even tiny containers with water that you might find around your home," said Hamilton County director of environmental services Bonnie Deakins.

Sitting water allows the mosquito population to multiply which increases the odds of potentially spreading the virus.

Mosquito experts and health officials believe the number of confirmed cases is down because more people are taking precautions when mother nature decides to drench our state.

On the flip side, the harsh reality is that there's enough time for West Nile cases to increase.

"Even though we don't have a whole lot of cases now, we need to plan for the future which is just couple of months until the cold gets the mosquitoes at the end of October and we don't have to worry about it again until April," Ledford said

"We just don't want people to let down their guard too much and to keep using the repellent and emptying the water containers around their homes," Deakins said.

Taking those precautions could prevent an unwanted trip to the doctor's office.

On Friday, Georgia only had one confirmed case of the West Nile Virus but as of Monday morning, health officials confirmed another case.
  
South Dakota has the most confirmed cases of the West Nile Virus with 35.

Information on West Nile cases are updated on a daily basis.


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