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Mosquitoes in St. Louis County test positive for West Nile virus

By Catherine Wolf, KWMU

St. Louis, MO –

The Saint Louis County Health Department says mosquitoes in parts of the county have tested positive for West Nile virus. The virus can be fatal, but usually only causes symptoms like fever, headache and body aches.

The department's Joan Bradford said workers are treating standing water in public areas with insecticides to kill mosquito larva. She said residents also should remove water that has collected on their property.

"If you have birdbaths, just clean them out once in while. If you have a swimming pool, get rid of the standing water in the pool cover, if you haven't opened up your pool yet. Clean out those gutters."

Bradford said residents can protect themselves by wearing long sleeves and using bug spray.

"If you're having a party in your backyard in the evening, having some fans going will prevent mosquitoes from landing on you because those tiny creatures cannot fight fans that are blowing."

Mosquito populations are expected to be large this year because the area has had several heavy rains and mosquitoes breed in standing water.

According to the health department, less than 1% of people who are bitten by an infected mosquito will get sick. The County has no reported human cases of West Nile virus.