Department of Health confirms first human case of West Nile Virus Illness
WALTON COUNTY — The Florida Department of Health in Walton County (DOH-Walton) has issued a mosquito-borne illness advisory for Walton County according to Holly Holt, DOH-Walton Administrator. A human case of West Nile virus illness has been confirmed and there is a heightened concern that additional residents may become ill.
Walton County Mosquito Control, South Walton Mosquito Control and DOH-Walton continue surveillance and prevention efforts and encourage everyone to take basic precautions to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes that may cause West Nile virus disease.
To protect yourself from mosquitos, you should remember to “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, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, and IR3535 are effective.
• Use mosquito netting to protect children younger than 2 months old.
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, 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.
COVER doors and windows with screens to keep mosquitoes out of your hours.
Repair broken screening on windows, doors, porches and patios.
For more information on what repellent is right for you, consider using the Environmental Protection Agency’s search tool to help you choose skin-applied repellent products: http://cfpub.epa.gov/oppref/insect/#searchform.
The Department 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 to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission web site at http://www.myfwc.com/bird/. For more information, visit DOH’s website at http://www.floridahealth.gov/diseases-and-conditions/mosquito-borne-diseases/index.html or call Florida Department of Health in Walton County at (850) 892-8015.
The Department works to protect, promote and improve the health of all people in Florida through integrated state, county and community efforts.
For more information visit www.floridahealth.gov.