est Nile Virus is here to stay. With this in mind local public health officials are busy creating ways to help fight the serious impact of West Nile Virus.
Mary Jo Everhart, director Platte County Health Department, announced the department has established two 24-hour telephone hotlines dedicated to the prevention of West Nile Virus.
One line, 858-1815, is dedicated to dead bird sightings in the county, according to Everhart. The second line, 858-1814, is a recording allowing callers access to additional information on the virus.
As of Sept. 5 Missouri had 48 preliminary and four confirmed cases of West Nile Virus – for a total of 52. There has been only one fatality in Missouri due to the virus.
The majority of cases have been in St. Louis city and county, with only nine cases being from the following other counties in Missouri: St. Charles, Cole, New Madrid, Washington, Clay, Morgan, St. Francois and Newton.
Throughout the United States there have been 737 laboratory positive human cases with 40 human fatalities as of Sept. 4.
Everhart also announced the Platte County Health Department Board of Trustees has made the decision to have larvicide tablets distributed to areas of standing water along roadways.
Brochures are also available from the Platte County Health Department.
“Even though the concern over West Nile Virus has peaked we hope the brochures will serve as a reminder to the public to not become lax in their efforts to protect themselves,” Everhart said. “We still have several weeks before Mother Nature will help his problem by a hard freeze.” The brochures will be distributed to school children, senior centers and libraries. The health department is recommending the residents use larvicide pellets in standing water.
Larvicide pellets can be purchased at hardware stores and provide a long-term approach for fighting infected mosquitoes, controlling mosquitoes for a much longer duration than pesticide sprays.
“We need to be prepared for next year,” Everhart said.
Everhart also advised public health officials have initiated precautionary measures including a recall of any remaining blood products from blood donors whose blood was given to organ donors.
Organs and blood are lifesaving tools and are in short supply. Officials remind individuals donating blood is safe. Everhart added that for patients who need an organ transplant or blood transfusion the benefits far outweigh any risks.