County Communications Manager Michael Ryan reported to Historic City News that the Anastasia Mosquito Control District has reported a significant increase in the mosquito population this week due to the frequency and amount of recent rain.
The District is asking St Johns County residents to take extra precautions against contact with the insects to prevent potentially contracting West Nile Virus and other mosquito-borne viruses.
While there are no reported human cases of the West Nile Virus in St Johns County, officials in Jacksonville have reported 11 cases. South Georgia has reported 12, including 2 deaths.
In response to the current conditions, the District has increased mosquito population surveillance and trap monitoring, West Nile Virus testing, overnight ground spraying, and thermal fogging.
Aerial spraying has not been conducted recently due to unfavorable conditions related to the on-going rain; however, the district is currently monitoring the status of Tropical Storm Isaac and will reevaluate the conditions once the threat of additional precipitation subsides.
The increase in the mosquito population is attributed to the abundance of recent rain and the resulting bodies of standing water in the area that serve as breeding grounds.
The District recommends that the community take additional precautionary measures against mosquito contact during this time to avoid infection.
Preventative actions include applying an EPA registered repellant containing DEET, wearing protective clothing, avoiding outdoor activities between dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active, and removing standing water from residential properties and outdoor landscaping features.
Most often spread by the bite of a mosquito, the West Nile Virus is a pathogen, which can cause a serious illness potentially resulting in death. Approximately 1-in-150 people infected with the virus will develop severe illness.
Symptoms can include a high fever, a headache, neck stiffness, and disorientation.
For more information about West Nile Virus, please call the St Johns County Health Department at 904.825.5055 or contact the District at 904.471.3107.