By: Daniel Haight, MD
Wednesday, March 27 2013
A person who lives in Northwestern Hillsborough County is currently recovering from a brain infection – Encephalitis – caused by a virus carried by mosquitoes. This is the first case seen in the area since 2010.
Even though mosquitoes do not fly far distances, they can spread the virus to birds which can then fly long distances and spread the disease to local mosquitoes.
Our local mosquito control team in Central Florida’s Polk County not only sprays to reduce these biting insects, they also trap mosquitoes for further research. By doing this, they can tell what types of mosquitoes are breeding and determine that some mosquitoes carry disease (while others do not).
If the mosquito control team counts numerous disease-carrying mosquitoes, they spray that area more thoroughly. If cases of infection are found in local birds, horses, or people – the health department will alert our community.
We can do our part by remembering the 5 “D”s and one “S”:
Dusk and dawn are times to beware of mosquitoes because the ones that bite during these times can often carry disease.
- Consider the way you dress. If you are outdoors during those times, wear clothes that cover as much skin as possible.
- DEET is the most effective insect repellant to apply, as directed, onto exposed skin. However, take caution when applying on young children. If you consider more natural repellants instead, remember to re-apply more frequently.
- To reduce the number of places where mosquitoes breed, drain any standing water near your home.
- Repair your screens. It is important to keep mosquitoes out of your home and porch.
Fortunately, most people infected by a mosquito will have no illness. But 15 percent will have a fever, headache, and nausea. In addition, a small number will develop confusion, seizures, and possible coma.
For more information, take a look at this site:
Which of the above suggestions will be easy to do, and which ones do you think will prove to be a challenge?