It is the highest number of West Nile Virus reports in Knox County history.
The Knox County Health Department (KCHD) has received lab confirmation of the presence of West Nile Virus (WNV) in mosquitoes in six different areas of the county. KCHD traps mosquitoes and sends them for testing on a routine basis during the summer months.
"This is the time of year that we usually get positive reports about West Nile Virus in mosquitoes, but it's the most positive pools that we've ever seen at one time," said Ronnie Nease, KCHD's Environmental Health director. "The recent rain gives mosquitoes plenty of areas to reproduce. We want to encourage the public to be vigilant about reducing standing water on their properties."
According to KCHD spokesperson Renee Ranby, the second highest number of positive test results were recorded in 2009. Five areas of the county were impacted that year.
"We don't want to scare people. We just want them to be conscious that it is out there. We [Knox County] have not had a West Nile death ever," Ranby said. "We've not even had a human case in at least six years."
KCHD suggests homeowners survey their property for any standing water that can be removed.
"Look inside empty pots, bird baths, wheelbarrows and clogged gutters. Water serves as breeding grounds for mosquitos. Mosquitos will breed in 3 to 7 days and you will have a whole new problem," Ranby explained.
If you're outdoors at night, the health department suggests wearing insect repellant, long pants, socks and shoes.
Due to the number of affected areas, spraying will take place on two separate evenings: Thursday, Aug. 9 and Saturday, Aug, 12, between the hours of 9 p.m. to midnight, weather permitting. Signs will be placed in the affected areas to alert residents, who are asked to stay inside during spraying and to keep pets inside or in the back yard. Follow up spraying will be done two weeks following, and a notice will be sent out at that time.
The six areas where WNV was found and will be sprayed are listed below. Click on the heading to see the map of the area.
Thursday night's spray area:
-East Knox County around Milligan Street:
All areas east of North Cherry Street; North of Magnolia Avenue; West of North Beaman Street and South of I-40. Also included are Lakeside and Kirkwood Streets and American Avenue.
-South Knox County:
These streets: Echodale Lane, Wise Hill Road, Stone Road, Stoneoak Lane and Magazine Road from Stone Road to Martin Mill Pike; Royal Heights Drive, Judith Drive, Grandin Drive, Larry Drive, Beachwood Drive, Liveoak Drive, West Red Bud Road, Sarvis Drive South West and Maple Loop Road from Sarvis Drive to West Red Bud Road.
-Gulf Park Community:
These streets: Dutchtown Road-West-starting at Christian Academy of Knoxville (CAK) to Blessed Way including Manis Lane, Dutchtown Harbor, Dutchtown Villas and CAK; includes Embarcadaro Drive, Cortez Drive, Tallahassee Drive, Ethan's Glen subdivision and Sanders Road-North from Dutchtown Road to Venice Road; Venice Road from Sanders Road-East including Tampa Road and Suwannee Road; Gulf Park Drive, Pensacola Road, Sarasota Drive, Galveston Road, Mobile Drive; Briarwood Blvd.-West of Chateaugay Road including Briarwood Drive and Laurel Hill Road.
Cumberland Estates subdivision, meaning all areas within Royalview Road, Robindale Road, Willowdale Drive, Silverhill Drive, Newberry Road, Landon Drive and Palmetto Boulevard. Also Short Road, High Drive and Nickle Road from Western Avenue to High Drive.
Sunday night's spray area:
-East Governor John Sevier Highway:
Gov. John Sevier Highway-South of Strawberry Plains Pike to Trebor Lane: Thorngrove Pike-West of Gov. John Sevier Hwy. to Bales Lane.
-Kimberlin Heights Road/Chapman Highway:
South Creek subdivision, Kimberlin Heights Road from Tipton Station Drive to Deadrick Road, Sagefield Drive, Crossfield Drive, Basilfield Drive, Pennroyal Drive, Twinleaf Lane, Harmon Road, Konda Drive and Karla Drive.
West Nile Virus encephalitis is a mosquito-borne illness that can cause brain inflammation. Symptoms may include: fever, headaches and body aches, often with skin rash and swollen lymph glands.
More information on the mosquito control program and the treatment schedule are available by calling (865) 215-5200.