With recent rain across East Tennessee, experts say it’s a bad year for mosquitoes.
The hot temperatures and rain provide the perfect breeding ground for the insects.
Researchers at the University Of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture are tracking mosquitoes across East Tennessee and testing for disease.
Becky Trout Fryxell, a professor of entomology and plant pathology, said this year looks much different than last year.
"We have a warm climate, we have a wet climate and we have an abundant number of hosts, which is perfect for mosquitoes," Trout Fryxell said.
She and her students are working alongside the Knox County Health Department to track mosquitoes to test for disease.
"We have 18 different sites throughout Knox County and the city that we are working with on a daily basis of trapping and testing for West Nile," said Ronnie Nease, director of environmental health at the Knox County Health Department.
The health department is most concerned about West Nile virus. So far this year, no Knox County mosquitoes have tested positive.
Trout Fryxell and her students are also searching for a different kind of mosquito-borne illness.
"La Crosse virus is an Aedes transmitted virus. It's transmitted by those little black and white mosquitoes,” she said.
The La Crosse virus originated in La Crosse, Wisconsin, and usually impacts kids under 16.
"It's an encephalitis, so what happens is there is neurological swelling, there's brain swelling and sometimes kids don't really recuperate from it," Trout Fryxell said.
There was one confirmed case in Knox County last year and none so far this year. But with mosquitoes on the rise, experts ask people to be vigilant, wear insect repellent and pour out any standing water in your yards.
"The health department can't take care of all the mosquitoes in the county. We need everyone's help," Nease said.
For more information on mosquito transmitted illnesses here in East Tennessee, you can visit the KCHD website.
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