FDOH issues mosquito-borne illness alert after detecting West Nile Virus

Source: MGN Online

BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - The Florida Department of Health (FDOH) in Bay County has issued a mosquito-borne illness alert following the detected presence of West Nile Virus in the area.

The FDOH initially released a mosquito-borne illness advisory for Bay County on July 5.

According to FDOH officials, an alert takes place when an increased presence of virus, in this case, West Nile, is detected. West Nile Virus has been seen in increased numbers in the mosquito pool, along with chickens under surveillance.

No human cases of West Nile have been detected. However, health officials say this creates a "heightened concern" for potential human cases.

They ask you to follow these tips to help prevent the spread of mosquito-borne illnesses:

DRAIN standing water around your home at least once a week to stop mosquitoes from multiplying.

"Some mosquitoes don't travel very far from where they lay their eggs so if you eliminate standing water around your house, and you get your neighbors to do the same thing, you can eliminate a lot of the problem," Michael Templin, an Environmental Health Specialist with the Florida Department of Health in Bay County, said.

· Drain water from garbage cans, house gutters, buckets, pool covers, coolers, toys, flower pots or any other containers where sprinkler or rain water has collected.
· Discard old tires, drums, bottles, cans, pots and pans, broken appliances and other items that aren't being used.
· Empty and clean birdbaths and pet's water bowls at least once or twice a week
· Protect boats and vehicles from rain with tarps that don’t accumulate water.
· Maintain swimming pools in good condition and appropriately chlorinated. Empty plastic swimming pools when not in use.

COVER skin with clothing or repellent.
Clothing - Wear shoes, socks, and long pants and long-sleeves. This type of protection may be necessary for people who must work in areas where mosquitoes are present.
Repellent - Apply mosquito repellent to bare skin and clothing.
Always use repellents according to the label. Repellents with DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, para-menthane-diol, and IR3535 are effective.
Use mosquito netting to protect children younger than 2 months old.

Tips on Repellent Use
Always read label directions carefully for the approved usage before you apply a repellent. Some repellents are not suitable for children.
Products with concentrations of up to 30 percent DEET (N, N-diethyl-m-toluamide) are generally recommended. Other U.S. Environmental Protection Agency-approved repellents contain picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, para-menthane-diol, or IR3535. These products are generally available at local pharmacies. Look for active ingredients to be listed on the product label.
Apply insect repellent to exposed skin, or onto clothing, but not under clothing.
In protecting children, read label instructions to be sure the repellent is age-appropriate. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), mosquito repellents containing oil of lemon eucalyptus should not be used on children under the age of three years. DEET is not recommended on children younger than two months old.
Avoid applying repellents to the hands of children. Adults should apply repellent first to their own hands and then transfer it to the child’s skin and clothing.
If additional protection is necessary, apply a permethrin repellent directly to your clothing. Again, always follow the manufacturer’s directions.

COVER doors and windows with screens to keep mosquitoes out of your house.
Repair broken screening on windows, doors, porches, and patios.