With cases of West Nile Virus in Escambia County, the Santa Rosa County Health Department is encouraging residents to take precautions to avoid mosquito-borne illnesses.
West Nile Virus (WNV) is a potentially serious disease, primarily transmitted by infected mosquitoes. Since January of this year, 16 confirmed cases of WNV have been reported throughout the state of Florida. Although no cases have been reported in Santa Rosa County, neighboring counties are seeing cases, and sentinel monitoring indicates a rise in the number of mosquitoes carrying the virus.
To reduce the chance of becoming infected with the virus, the health Department encourages residents to take precautions to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes that may be carrying WNV, as well as other illnesses.
Remove standing water. Removing standing water sources is one of the easiest ways to prevent mosquitoes from breeding. Outdoor yard items such as pets' water dishes, bird baths and flower pots can collect water and provide ideal places for mosquitoes to lay their eggs. Empty items that hold water at least once a week, clean rain gutters so that water drains freely, and remove discarded trash items, such as car tires, to discourage mosquitoes from laying eggs.
Avoid going outside between dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active.
If you must be outside, dress in clothing that covers most of your skin.
Use mosquito repellents. Products containing DEET are both safe and effective, when used as directed.
Use screens on all open windows. Repair any torn or broken screens.
For more information on insect repellents, visit the Centers for Disease Control website: http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvbid/westnile/qa/insect_repellent.htm.
For more information on mosquito-borne illnesses and how to help prevent them, visit these websites: http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/diseases/list_mosquitoborne.htm