On August 5th, 2020, a year had passed. Kathy Paslay’s husband, Carl, died from complications of West Nile disease in 2019 on August 5th. He was only 67.
Since then, Paslay has been working to educate her friends, family, and community about West Nile disease and the dangers of disease-carrying mosquitoes. She believes her husband Carl probably got the disease from a mosquito bite that he acquired near their home close to the Kansas River in Lecompton, Kansas. She has since moved into town, but her mission to keep others from catching the illness is strong.
According to the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, West Nile virus is the most common mosquito-borne disease in Kansas and the United States. The KDHE suggests taking precautions when you are out in areas where mosquitoes are present. While most people infected with West Nile virus do not develop any symptoms, about 1 in 150 people who are infected develop a severe illness.
In June, Paslay approached the city council in Lecompton about controlling the mosquitoes in town. She donated 4 mosquito traps made by a company in Mississippi to hang in the city park. She then sold, at cost, 15 boxes of the product to the city. Each box contains two mosquito traps. The product, Spartan Mosquito Eradicator, works by attracting and trapping female mosquitos. The females perish before they can breed again.
Paslay owns the Bald Eagle Mercantile shop on Elmore Street, the main street in Lecompton with other businesses. Her store features antiques and unique items. Customers have been coming by lately to purchase locally hand-made masks for protection against Covid-19. They have also been coming by to pick up mosquito traps and spray for protection against mosquito borne diseases. It makes Kathy Paslay happy to know that she might be helping to prevent someone else from suffering from the West Nile virus.