Health Risks From Water Dennis Left Behind

Hurricane Dennis dumped upwards of 11 inches of rain in the Big Bend area, and while some of that water has dried up, in other places that's not the case.

There is concern about health risks associated with standing water. Standing water can lead to mosquito-borne illnesses or diseases transmitted by those pesky bugs.

The overflow in the Ocklochonee River is an ideal time for folks to catch fish and enjoy a leisurely relaxed day. It may also look like child's play as kids wade in the water, but danger is lurking underneath the murky stream.

Jeffery Jackson says, "I saw four snakes over there and three over there, and we saw a couple of leaches and spiders and a baby alligator."

Health officials say those are not the only unwelcomed visitors these residents will encounter. Experts say flood waters could be a breeding ground for mosquito-borne illnesses.

Whit Pennington, Leon County Community Ed. Coordinator, says, "Some preventative measures to get as much water out and cover anything that can hold water. By doing this we're going to eliminate a lot of mosquitoes."

In addition residents are encouraged to:
* pick up all beverage containers and cups
* remove old tires or drill holes in those used in playgrounds
* clean out eaves and gutters
* turn over or remove empty plastic pots
* check tarps and boats or equipment that may collect water

Following those simple steps could be the key to preventing mosquito-borne illnesses. Health officials say mosquitoes are active at sunrise and sunset. They say folks should wear clothing to cover most of your skin during that time.

Health officials are encouraging folks to use repellent, particularly ones containing the chemical deet or oil of lemon eucalyptus and procaratin.