Walton County Health Department has received confirmation of the county’s first human case of West Nile Virus. The possibility that other individuals may become infected with the virus is extremely high. Walton County has been under a Mosquito-Borne Illness Advisory since July 2012 due to increased sentinel chickens testing positive for EEE/West Nile Virus. North Walton County Mosquito Control and South Walton Mosquito Control are continuing to spray and the health department encourages the public to continue to take precautions to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes.
To protect yourself from mosquitoes, you should remember “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 don’t 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(N,N-diethyl-m-toluamide), picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, and IR3535 are effective.
• Use mosquito netting to protect children younger than 2 months old.
COVER doors and windows with screens to keep mosquitoes out of your house
▪ Repair broken screening on windows, doors, porches, and patios.
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 are generally recommended. Other US Environmental Protection Agency-approved repellents contain Picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, 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 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.
DOH continues to conduct statewide surveillance for mosquito borne illnesses, including West Nile virus infections, Eastern equine encephalitis, St. Louis encephalitis, malaria, and dengue. Residents of Florida are encouraged to report dead birds via the web site for Surveillance of Wild-bird Die-offs located at http://www.myfwc.com/bird/. For more information, visit DOH’s Environmental Public Health web site at http://www.doh.state.fl.us/Environment/medicine/arboviral/index.html or call the Walton County Health Department at 850-892-8021.