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HEALTH OFFICIALS REMIND RESIDENTS OF CURRENT MOSQUITO-BORNE ILLNESSES ADVISORY

By Noreen Nickola-Williams

September 25, 2018

Saint Augustine, Fla. 

The Florida Department of Health in St. Johns County (DOH-St. Johns County) reminds residents of an increase in mosquito-borne disease activity within some of the sentinel chicken populations in St. Johns County. Sentinel chickens are used to detect some mosquito-borne illnesses. In St. Johns County, an increase in West Nile Virus (WNV) activity was detected in our sentinel chicken populations. It is important to note that no known human cases of WNV are confirmed at this time. However, the potential for the risk of transmission to humans has increased.

Please be aware that a mosquito-borne illness advisory for Eastern equine encephalitis (EEE) remains in effect since June 8th, 2018 when several sentinel chicken populations tested positive for this illness. It is important to note that still, to date, no known human cases of EEE are confirmed at this time.

The DOH-St. Johns County Health Department, in partnership with the Anastasia Mosquito Control District, continues surveillance and prevention efforts. Residents and visitors are reminded to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes and to take basic precautions to help limit exposure.

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 do not 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, 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, 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 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.

To find the right mosquito-repellent for your individual needs, please consider using the Environmental Protection Agency’s search tool to help you choose approved skin-applied repellent products.

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. Residents of Florida are encouraged to report dead birds via the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s website. Additional information is available via the DOH - Mosquito-Borne Disease Prevention website.

For information about local mosquito control efforts, please visit Anastasia Mosquito Control District (AMCD).

About the Florida Department of Health

The department works to protect, promote and improve the health of all people in Florida through integrated state, county, and community efforts.


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