McMinnville’s Public Works Department will be spraying for mosquitoes again this summer within the city.
“I’ve had some questions from residents wanting to know if we are going to be spraying for mosquitoes again this year,” said Mayor Jimmy Haley. “They’re a little freaked out about this Zika virus.”
According to Public Works assistant director Brad Hennessee, the department will begin spraying when the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends it.
“It hasn’t reached the threshold the CDC provides of when to start spraying for mosquitoes, but we do have both the mosquito mist that we traditionally spray and the spray for the Zika virus,” said Hennessee. “There are two different types of mist. The mosquitoes that carry the Zika virus are mostly daytime biters so we will have to spray during the day for Zika and at night for the traditional type of mosquitoes we’ve had.”
While the city is prepared to combat the mosquitoes that carry Zika, there is a problem. The spray is toxic to mosquitoes and pollinators, such as honey bees that move around during the day. Because of that, daytime spraying will only be done in the event of a CDC emergency here.
Local residents are being encouraged to take steps to prevent mosquito bites by wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants, stay in places with air conditioning and window and door screens, and use Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) registered insect repellent when outside.
Help control the mosquitoes:
1) Once a week, empty and scrub, turn over, cover, or throw out any items that hold water like tires, buckets, planters, toys, pools, birdbaths, flowerpot saucers, or trash containers;
2) Tightly cover water storage containers (buckets, cisterns, rain barrels) so mosquitoes cannot get inside to lay eggs;
3) For containers without lids, use wire mesh with holes smaller than an adult mosquito;
4) Use larvicides to treat large containers of water that will not be used for drinking and cannot be covered or dumped out.
Except in pregnant women, Zika virus is almost always a very mild illness and for most people testing is not necessary. Approximately 80 percent of those infected never show symptoms while approximately 20 percent show mild symptoms.
Pregnant women, in any trimester, have increased cases of microcephaly possibly associated with Zika virus infections. Microcephaly is a condition where the head is smaller than normal and may lead to health challenges.
The only CDC-confirmed case of Zika virus in Tennessee was in February, a travel-associated case where a person visited South America and returned to Tennessee.