Walton County issues mosquito-borne illness advisory

June 30, 2009

walton-county-logoChicken flocks have tested positive for EEE virus

WALTON COUNTY — This is to advise that there has been increased mosquito-borne disease activity in areas of Walton County. Several of our sentinel chicken flocks have tested positive for EEE virus. The risk of transmission to humans has been increased.

Walton County Health Department reminds residents and visitors to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes that may cause encephalitis disease. Walton County Mosquito Control and the health department continue surveillance and prevention efforts and encourage everyone to take basic precautions to help limit exposure by following the department of health recommendations.

To protect yourself from mosquitoes, you should remember to practice the “5 D’s”:
• Dusk and Dawn – Avoid being outdoors when mosquitoes are seeking blood.
• Dress – Wear clothing that covers most of your skin.
• DEET – When the potential exists for exposure to mosquitoes, repellents containing up to 30 percent DEET N,N-diethyl-meta-toluamide) are recommended. Other effective mosquito repellents include picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, and IR3535.
• Drainage – Check around your home to rid the area of standing water, where mosquitoes lay eggs.

Some effective repellants are DEET (N, N-diethyl-3-methylbenzamide), picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, and IR3535. Always read label directions carefully for the approved usage before you apply a repellent. Some repellents are not suitable for children.

Elimination of breeding sites is one of the keys to prevention.
Tips on Eliminating Mosquito Breeding Sites
• Clean out eaves, troughs and gutters.
• Remove old tires or drill holes in those used in playgrounds to drain.
• Turn over or remove empty plastic pots.
• Pick up all beverage containers and cups.
• Check tarps on boats or other equipment that may collect water.
• Pump out bilges on boats.
• Replace water in birdbaths and pet or other animal feeding dishes at least once a week.
• Change water in plant trays, including hanging plants, at least once a week.
• Remove vegetation or obstructions in drainage ditches that prevent the flow of water.

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 http://myfwc.com/bird/. For more information on mosquito-borne illnesses, visit DOH’s Environmental Health web site at http://www.doh.state.fl.us/Environment/medicine/arboviral/index.html or call your local county health department.

Issued by: Crystal Steele, Walton County Health Department, June 30, 2009 (850) 892-8021