HILLSBORO, Mo. – The Jefferson County Health Department looks at what they have called a health emergency after two collections of adult mosquitoes tested positive for the West Nile virus were. These two collections came from the cities of Kimmswick and Arnold and were collected at the end of June.
Thousands of people will be attending the fair, which opens at 5 pm on Thursday. and runs until Sunday. The district health department is taking an aggressive approach to tackling the problem.
Many areas across the country are being sprayed to fight and prevent mosquitoes.
Usually the spraying is done after 8pm. in the early morning. The vector and surveillance program has also set dozens of traps across the country. Tests are performed weekly, sometimes daily, on the collected mosquito samples.
The virus is spread by the bite of a mosquito that has been feeding on an infected bird.
So far, there have been no new West Nile mosquitoes discovered and the Ministry of Health is working hard to combat this problem.
"We have one of the leading programs in the state, our program focuses on more than just pest control and focuses on more than just harassing mosquitoes, and we treat it like any other disaster," said Trey Hull of Jefferson County Health Department.
According to the CDC, 80 percent of people who get infected have no symptoms, but some develop flu-like symptoms that can last for weeks or even months. These symptoms include: fever, headache, body aches, tiredness, nausea and rash.
The worst cases of West Nile can be deadly.
Older people are at a higher risk of becoming ill because their immune system is often weaker.
To help stop the spread of West Nile, health officials want people to wear insect repellent with DEET and remove standing water sources that breed mosquitoes like bird baths, gutters and the bottoms of flower pots.
"Take a few minutes and make sure they use suitable and effective insect repellents that contain 20 to 50 percent DEET," said Hull.