Mosquitoes in the Stone Road area of South Knoxville have tested positive for the West Nile virus.

The Knox County Health Dept. said crews will spray for mosquitoes in that area on July 27 between 9 p.m. and midnight to reduce the Culex mosquito population and the risk of the West Nile virus spreading to humans.

"From now until the end of the season, we could get sporadic, positive pools of West Nile Virus," said Ronnie Nease, director of environmental health for the Knox County Health Department. 

Signs will be posted in the affected neighborhoods to alert residents, who are asked to stay inside during spraying and keep pets inside or in the backyard.

The following locations will be sprayed:

  • Stone Road
  • Wise Hills Road
  • Echodale Lane
  • Magazine Road
  • Stoneoak Lane
  • Royal Heights Drive
  • Grandin Drive
  • Judith Drive
  • Larry Drive
  • Beechwood Drive
  • Liveoak Lane
  • Sarvis Drive
  • Maple Loop Road to West Red Bud Road
  • West Red Bud Road

Follow-up spraying is scheduled for Thursday, Aug. 10.

Nease said it is not uncommon for a mosquito to test positive for West Nile Virus this time of year. The health department is urging people to get rid of any standing watery where mosquitoes can breed. 

"Any place that contains water has the potential to be a breeding site," Nease said. 

To prevent mosquito bites and reduce mosquito habitats, the Knox County Health Department recommends the following:

• Apply repellents to skin often; these can include lotions, liquids or sprays. The CDC recommends the use of repellents that contain DEET, Picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus or para-menthane 3, 8-diol, and IR3535. The duration of protection varies by repellant; read labels on products to determine when reapplications are necessary for optimal protection.
• Wear long, loose and light-colored shirts and pants and wear socks.
• Treat clothing with permethrin or purchase pretreated permethrin clothing.
• Dispose of, regularly empty, or turn over any water holding containers on your property such as tires, cans, flower pots, children’s toys or trash cans.
• To prevent breeding in large water-holding devices, including bird baths or garden pools, use larvicides such as mosquito torpedoes or mosquito dunks. If used properly, larvicides will not harm animals.

Neal Denton, director for the University of Tennessee Extension Knox County, said people should know dense shrubs can also be a hiding place for mosquitoes. 

"When you're pruning your shrubs, try not to make them so dense because that cool area in there with limited airflow is a great place for mosquitoes to hang out," Denton said. 

He also recommends using a box fan if you're going to sit outside since mosquitoes are weak flyers. 

"They cannot withstand, even winds even up to five, six miles per hour can keep them at bay," Denton said, "so by keeping the air moving, you can keep them off of you." 

If you do get bit, home remedies to reduce the itch include dry soap, banana peels, apple cider vinegar, lemon slices, onions and peppermint toothpaste. 

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