The recent amounts of heavy rain will likely significantly increase the mosquito population in Effingham County. Although the county is not currently experiencing a mosquito-borne disease threat, the Effingham County Health Department urges residents to take appropriate precautions now and throughout the summer.
As the peak mosquito season starts, all citizens are reminded to take measures to minimize mosquitoes around their property. There a several easy things you can do to reduce mosquito breeding including removing water-holding containers, changing water frequently in pet dishes, changing bird bath water at least twice a week, and avoiding using saucers under outdoor potted plants.
It’s important to remember that mosquitoes can be more than just bothersome pests; they can also carry West Nile virus (WNV) and Eastern equine encephalitis (EEE). Both WNV and EEE are transmitted by the bite of infected mosquitoes and can cause serious illness.
“Both West Nile Virus and Eastern Equine Encephalitis are potentially dangerous viruses,” said Joe Atkins, administrator for the Effingham County Health Department. “Preventing mosquito bites is the best way to protect yourself from contracting these diseases.”
The Effingham County Health Department encourages residents to follow the five “Ds” of prevention:
• Dusk — Mosquitoes carrying West Nile virus usually bite at dusk and dawn.
• Dawn — Avoid outdoor activity at dusk and dawn if possible. If you must be outside, be sure to protect yourself from bites.
• Dress — Wear long-sleeved shirts and pants to reduce the amount of exposed skin.
• DEET — Cover exposed skin with an insect repellent containing the chemical DEET, which is the most effective repellent against mosquito bites.
• Drain — Empty any containers holding standing water because they can be excellent breeding grounds for virus-carrying mosquitoes.