The Florida Department of Health in St. Johns County informed local Historic City News reporters that residents are at risk of an increase in mosquito-borne disease activity.
In St. Johns County, sentinel chickens are used by the Anastasia Mosquito Control District to detect some mosquito-borne illnesses. Several sentinel chicken populations tested positive for Eastern equine encephalitis this week. No known human cases are confirmed at this time; however, the potential for the risk of transmission to humans has increased.
“The St. Johns County Health Department continues surveillance and prevention efforts,” Noreen Nickola-Williams, Director of the Office of Public Health Practice and Policy for the Department of Health in St. Johns County, told reporters. “Residents and visitors are reminded to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes and to take basic precautions to help limit exposure.”
The Florida Department of Health continues to conduct statewide surveillance for mosquito-borne illnesses, including West Nile virus infections, Eastern equine encephalitis, St. Louis encephalitis, malaria, chikungunya and dengue.
To protect yourself from mosquitoes, you should remember 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.
- Cover doors and windows with screens to keep mosquitoes out of your house. Repair broken screening on windows, doors, porches, and patios.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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, 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.
LINKS TO MORE INFORMATION:
- To find the right mosquito-repellent for your individual needs, please consider using the Environmental Protection Agency’s search tool to help you choose appropriate skin-applied repellent products: http://cfpub.epa.gov/oppref/insect/#searchform
- 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
- Additional information is available via the following DOH website:
- For information about Anastasia Mosquito Control District and local mosquito control efforts, please visit: www.amcdsjc.org
- DOH-St. Johns County Health Department Website: http://StJohns.FloridaHealth.gov/
- The Florida Department of Health works to protect, promote and improve the health of all people in Florida through integrated state, county and community efforts. For more information about the Florida Department of Health please visit www.FloridaHealth.gov