This press release published at the request of the Florida Department of Health in Alachua County.
Surveillance systems are detecting the presence of mosquito-borne viruses. “The Florida Department of Health in Alachua County (FDOH-Alachua) would like to remind citizens and visitors the importance of preventing infection from mosquito-borne diseases as our surveillance system is detecting increased mosquito activity and the presence of Eastern Equine Encephalitis,” said Anthony Dennis, Environmental Health Director, Florida Department of Health in Alachua County.
FDOH-Alachua reminds residents and visitors to avoid being bitten by taking precautions while engaging in outdoor summer activities like hiking, camping, biking, and fishing.
To prevent mosquito-borne diseases, they recommend citizens:
- Drain water from garbage cans, house gutters, pool covers, coolers, toys, flowerpots, or any other containers where sprinkler or rainwater 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 the water balance (pool chemistry) of swimming pools. Empty plastic swimming pools when not in use. Repair broken screens on windows, doors, porches, and patios.
- Those who must be outside when mosquitoes are active, cover up. Wear shoes, socks, long pants, and long sleeves.
- Use netting to protect children younger than two months.
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.
FDOH-Alachua and local mosquito control continue surveillance and prevention efforts throughout the County. The Florida Department of Health is continuing statewide surveillance for mosquito-borne illnesses, including West Nile virus infections, eastern equine encephalitis, St. Louis encephalitis, malaria, chikungunya, and dengue.
Get more information on Mosquito-Borne Diseases.
Get more information on Eastern Equine Encephalitis.
Citizens should report mosquito problems to their municipality's mosquito control or the Florida Department of Health in Alachua County at 352-334-7930.