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RESIDENTS URGED TO PROTECT THEMSELVES AGAINST MOSQUITO-BORNE ILLNESS
DAYTONA BEACH The Volusia County Health Department (VCHD) encourages residents and tourists to take precautions against mosquito-borne diseases especially following the recent heavy rains. Throughout the year, VCHD works with Volusia County Mosquito Control, the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, and state universities to monitor for the presence of illnesses carried by mosquitoes
"Residents should protect themselves and reduce their chances of contracting a mosquito-borne illness, " said Dr. Bonnie J. Sorensen, director of the Volusia County Health Department. "We also want people to be aware of the symptoms associated with mosquito-borne illnesses and seek immediate medical attention if needed."
The Florida Department of Health continues to conduct statewide surveillance for mosquito- borne illnesses, including West Nile (WN) virus, Eastern equine encephalitis virus (EEE), St. Louis encephalitis virus (SLE), malaria and dengue.
Symptoms of West Nile virus may include headache, fever, fatigue, dizziness, weakness and confusion. Physicians should contact their county health department if they suspect an individual may have a mosquito-borne illness.
The Volusia County Health Department continues to advise the public to remain diligent in protecting themselves from mosquito bites and associated diseases by following the "5 D's," which include:
- Dusk and Dawn: Avoid being outdoors when mosquitoes are seeking blood. For many species, this is during the dusk and dawn hours.
- Dress: Wear clothing that covers most of your skin.
- DEET: When the potential exists for exposure to mosquitoes, repellents containing DEET (N,N-diethyl-meta-toluamide, or N,N-diethyl-3-methylbenzamide) are recommended. Picaridin and oil of lemon eucalyptus are other repellent options. If additional protection is necessary, a permethrin repellent can be applied directly to your clothing. Again, always follow the manufacturer's directions.
- Drainage: Check around your home to rid the area of standing water, which is where mosquitoes can lay their eggs.
Tips on Repellent Use
- Always read label directions carefully for the approved usage before applying a repellent to skin. Some repellants are not suitable for children.
- Products with concentrations of up to 30 percent DEET are generally recommended. Other potential mosquito repellents, as reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in April 2005, contain picaridin or oil of lemon eucalyptus. 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 CDC, mosquito repellents containing oil of lemon eucalyptus should not be used on children under the age of 3 years. DEET is not recommended on children younger than 2 months old.
- Infants should be kept indoors or mosquito netting should be used over carriers when mosquitoes are present.
- 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.
Tips on Eliminating Mosquito Breeding Sites
- Elimination of breeding sites is one of the keys to prevention.
- Clean out eaves, troughs and gutters.
- Remove old tires or drill holes in those used in playgrounds to drain.
- Turn over or remove empty plastic pots.
- Pick up all beverage containers and cups.
- Check tarps on boats or other equipment that may collect water.
- Pump out bilges on boats.
- Replace water in birdbaths and pet or other animal feeding dishes at least once a week.
- Change water in plant trays, including hanging plants, at least once a week.
- Remove vegetation or obstructions in drainage ditches that prevent the flow of water.
For more information on mosquito-borne illnesses, visit DOH's Environmental Health Website at http://www.doh.state.fl.us/Environment/medicine/arboviral/index.html
Page last updated: 06/12/12