Mosquitoes bother and bite

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Reporter - Jason Hibbs
Photojournalist - David Dycus

MARSHALL COUNTY, Ky. - They are out in full force and some people say the state's efforts to stop them are not working.

Mosquitoes are biting and bothering just about everyone who lives near bodies of water, and a doctor warns they could be carrying diseases.

Despite eradication efforts, the bugs aren't going away and many say the problem is only getting worse.

In fact, Kentucky Director of Public Health Grayson Brown says Western Kentucky is close to an emergency declaration.

Brown said the maximum human landing rate for someone near water, without repellent, and in shorts and short sleeves on a normal year is five bites per minute.  The emergency number is 16 bites per minute.
The last time Brown measured, the rate was 10 bites per minute in our area.

The state is trying to get rid of these bugs before they get worse, but in the meantime, a doctor has some advice for people who are being bitten.

65 year old Billy Price loves his childhood home.  That's why he never moved.

"Things have changed a lot, yes sir," Price said.

He said this year, mosquitoes are worse.

"You feel it, and it starts itching.  You know you've been bitten," Price said.

Price said standing water draws them to his property, and there's nothing to run the bugs away.

"You used to see the planes come by and spray.  In fact, I've had it to hit me, but you ain't seen that in a long time," Price said of aerial sprayers.

But a spokesperson for the Kentucky Department of Agriculture said the state is spraying for mosquitoes. In fact, when people call their health department and complain about them, their address is written down and the state makes sure to spray in that area."

In the meantime, Doctor Erika Dallas of Dallas Medical says there are real risks involved with a mosquito carrying the West Nile Virus.

"If they do get symptoms, it's generally going to be fever, maybe muscle aches, joint aches, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea maybe or a rash," Dallas said.

She said only one percent of the people who contract West Nile are at risk of dying, but that's still not a chance Price wants to take.

The Department of Agriculture is spraying for mosquitoes, however, that's done on the ground. If Western Kentucky gets an emergency declaration, that would pay for aerial application. That comes with a hefty price tag. Brown is asking for half a million dollars to spray 200 thousand acres.

Doctor Dallas said while there are no antibiotics or vaccines available to fight West Nile, you should see a doctor if you're suffering from any of the symptoms.

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