Health officials issue advice on mosquito-borne diseases

TAMPA, FLA – The Hillsborough County Florida Department of Health (DOH-Hillsborough) is advising residents that there has been an increase in mosquito-borne disease activity in areas of Hillsborough County. West Nile virus was detected in two sentinel chickens, increasing the risk of transmission to humans. Hillsborough County Mosquito Control and DOH-Hillsborough continue their surveillance and prevention efforts.

The DOH-Hillsborough reminds residents and visitors to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes and to take basic precautions to help limit exposure.

Prevention of mosquito bites

Using the right insect repellent and other preventative actions can discourage mosquitoes from landing on you. Follow these Drain and cover tips to prevent mosquito bites.

Drain water outdoor areas to reduce the number of places mosquitoes can lay eggs and breed.

  • Drain water from garbage cans, gutters, buckets, pool covers, coolers, toys, flower pots, or any other container where sprinklers or rainwater has collected.
  • Throw away old tires, bottles, pots, broken appliances and other unused items.
  • Empty and clean bird baths and pet water bowls at least twice a week.
  • Protect boats and vehicles from the rain with covers that do not accumulate water.
  • Maintain swimming pools in good condition and chlorinated. Empty plastic pools when not in use.

Download these infographics for more information: Mosquitoes – Keep them out and prevent them from breeding and protect your home from mosquitoes.

Cover with protective clothing outdoors and keep doors and windows closed to prevent mosquitoes from entering indoors.

  • Wear shoes, socks, long pants, and long sleeves outdoors when and where mosquitoes are most prevalent to discourage mosquito bites.
  • Apply insect repellent containing DEET (10-30%), picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, para-menthane-diol, 2-undecanone or IR3535.
  • Treat clothing and equipment with products containing 0.5%. Do not apply permethrin directly to the skin. Some sports clothing and equipment are pre-treated with permethrin.
  • Use a mosquito net to protect children under 2 months.
  • Check and repair window and door screens. Keep them closed and use air conditioning when possible.
  • Make sure window screens are in good condition to reduce the risk of mosquitoes indoors.

Download the Florida mosquito bite protection infographic.

Tips on using repellent

  • For mosquitoes and ticks, use an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approved insect repellent on exposed skin and clothing. The EPA’s helpful search tool can help you find the product that best meets your needs.
  • Follow product label directions, especially if applying to children.
  • Apply insect repellent to exposed skin or clothing, but not under clothing.
  • Always follow directions when applying insect repellent to children and do not use repellents containing DEET on babies under 2 months or lemon eucalyptus oil on children under 3 years old.
  • Avoid applying repellents to children’s hands. Adults should first apply the repellent to their own hands, then transfer it to the child’s skin and clothes.

travel tips

Mosquitoes spread viruses and parasites that cause disease. Before traveling to areas where mosquito-borne diseases are found, talk to your health care provider about your health concerns.

Mosquitoes need standing water to breed, so you might consider planning your trips to tropical regions during the dry season when mosquitoes are less prevalent. That’s not to say that there aren’t mosquitoes outside of the rainy season, but higher temperatures and fewer puddles in which to breed make them considerably less active.

Visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website for more information on the safe use of repellent.


About the Florida Department of Health

The department, nationally accredited by the Public Health Accreditation Board, strives to protect, promote, and improve the health of all Florida residents through integrated state, county, and from the community.

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