Noreen Nickola-Williams, Director of the Office of Public Health Practice and Policy for the Florida Department of Health in St Johns County, reported to Historic City News Friday that in partnership with the Anastasia Mosquito Control District an increase in mosquito-borne disease activity has been detected within the southeast quadrant of St Johns County.
One human case of locally acquired West Nile Virus has been confirmed and there is a heightened concern that additional residents may become ill. The public should remain diligent in preventative measures.
“In recent weeks, sentinel chicken flocks tested positive for West Nile virus,” Nickola-Williams reported. “Additionally, West Nile Virus infection was detected in the death of one horse. The risk of transmission of mosquito-borne illness to humans has increased.”
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. The Department is continuing to conduct statewide surveillance and prevention efforts for West Nile virus infections, Eastern equine encephalitis, St Louis encephalitis, malaria, chikungunya, and dengue.
The Florida Department of Health offers our subscribers the following tips on insect 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 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 or para-menthane-diol should not be used on children under the age of three years. DEET is not recommended for 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.
DRAIN standing water to stop mosquitoes from multiplying.
- Drain water from garbage cans, house gutters, buckets, pool covers, coolers, toys, flowerpots, or any other containers where sprinkler or rainwater has been 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 your pet’s water bowl at least 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, 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 directions.
- Use mosquito netting to protect children younger than 2 months old.
- Cover doors and windows with screens to keep mosquitoes out of your house.
- Repair broken screening on windows, doors, porches, and patios.
For information about Anastasia Mosquito Control District, local mosquito control efforts (operations, applied research, and education), to check on fogging service schedules, or to request mosquito control services, call (904) 471-3107 or visit the district’s website.
For information about mosquito repellent and which repellent is right for you, consider using the Environmental Protection Agency’s search tool for skin-applied repellent products.
For information about statewide surveillance for mosquito-borne illnesses, visit the Florida Department of Health website.
Residents of Florida are encouraged to report dead birds via the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s website.