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How to help curtail a mosquito problem

POSTED: July 21, 2014 7:13 p.m.

Coastal Health District officials remind residents to take precautions to avoid mosquitoes which are not only a nuisance but can carry disease such as West Nile Virus (WNV), Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE), and chikungunya.

WNV is transmitted by the bite of infected mosquitoes. About 80 percent of people infected with WNV will not show any symptoms at all; however, cases can range from mild to severe.

Mosquitoes that carry the West Nile Virus are more likely to bite during the evening, night and early morning.

EEE is a mosquito-borne virus that causes swelling of the brain. In horses, it is fatal 70 to 90 percent of the time. Horse and large animal owners are encouraged to vaccinate their animals against the virus and to clean out watering sources, such as buckets and troughs, every three-to-four days to prevent mosquitoes from breeding there.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, most people with chikungunya will develop some symptoms which could include fever, joint and muscle pain, headache and a rash. There is no specific treatment and most who get it feel better within a week.

Unlike the mosquitoes that carry WNV, the mosquitoes that spread the chikungunya virus bite mostly during the daytime.

Mosquito prevention
The best way to prevent mosquito-related diseases is to avoid mosquito bites. Mosquitoes breed in standing water, which is why it is important to remove water-holding containers (buckets, barrels, flower pots, tarps, etc.). Drill holes in tire swings so water drains out; keep children’s wading pools empty and on their sides when they’re not being used; change water frequently in pet dishes; change bird bath water at least twice a week; and avoid using saucers under outdoor potted plants.

In addition, following these tips can help lessen the risk of getting bitten by mosquitoes:
• Drain all standing water.
• Avoid dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are most active.
• Dress appropriately in long sleeves and pants.
• Defend or DEET yourself against mosquitoes with an effective repellent. Repellents containing DEET, picaridin, IR3535, and oil of lemon eucalyptus and para-menthane-diol products provide long lasting protection.
• Doors and windows should be in good condition.

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