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Mosquito-Borne Illness Advisory - Human case of West Nile virus Identified

By Renay Rouse

November 30, 2020

The Florida Department of Health in Martin County (DOH-Martin) is advising residents of an increase in mosquito-borne disease activity, following the confirmation of a human case of West Nile virus.

A mosquito-borne illness advisory has been in effect in Martin County since August 19, following the confirmation of West Nile virus in sentinel chicken flocks in areas of the county. 

Martin County Mosquito Control and DOH-Martin continue surveillance and prevention efforts.

West Nile virus is spread by infected mosquitoes. Most people do not develop any symptoms, but 1 in 5 people can experience headache, body ache, joint pain, diarrhea or rash. Severe illness can occur in people of any age, however people over 60 years of age are at greater risk. Symptoms of severe illness include high fever, neck stiffness, tremors, muscle weakness and vision loss.

Florida Health Minute video, West Nile virus: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I0X8ENd1dUA&feature=emb_logo 

DOH-Martin advises residents to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes and to take basic precautions to limit exposure by remembering to “Drain and Cover”.

DRAIN standing water to stop mosquitoes from multiplying.

  • 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, 2-undecanone 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, 2-undecanone 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 or para-menthane-diol 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.

For more information on what repellent is right for you, consider using the Environmental Protection Agency’s search tool to help you choose skin-applied repellent products:

http://cfpub.epa.gov/oppref/insect/#searchform.

The Department continues to conduct statewide surveillance for mosquito-borne illnesses, including West Nile virus infections, Eastern equine encephalitis, St. Louis encephalitis, malaria, chikungunya and dengue. Residents of Florida are encouraged to report dead birds via the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s site - http://legacy.myfwc.com/bird/default.asp

More resources:

A video “Drain & Cover” for mosquito bite prevention can be found here: http://www.floridahealth.gov/videos/drain-and-cover.html

For more information on mosquito borne diseases and symptoms, visit: http://www.floridahealth.gov/diseases-and-conditions/mosquito-borne-diseases/ or call the Florida Department of Health in Martin County at 772-221-4000.

For more information on controlling mosquitoes, visit: https://www.martin.fl.us/MosquitoControl or call Martin County Mosquito Control at 772-419-6974.