Tallahassee, FL - November 9, 2012 - Leon County is under a mosquito-borne illness alert after another person there has contracted the West Nile Virus.
"We don't want people to panic. But we do want them to know there are still mosquito borne illnesses out there and to be cautious," says Dr. Homer Rice with the Leon County Health Department.
For the second time this year, Leon County has a confirmed case of West Nile Virus.
A 60-year-old man contracted the virus last month. He's since been treated and released from the hospital.
Now the Florida Department of Health is issuing a mosquito-borne illness alert for the county, putting health officials and residents on notice.
"Eliminate standing water around your home. Protect yourself by wearing long sleeves, long pants and if you're outside, use a repellent," says Rice.
The virus spreads through bites from infected mosquitoes. The elderly, infants and those with weak immune systems are the most at risk. There's no cure for the virus and those affected may experience high fevers, convulsions, vision loss and even death.
"Just be cautious, and get you some insect spray and use that insect soap," says Tallahassee resident, George Scott.
The County says it will continue its surveillance and prevention efforts, but because of the change in temperature, that does not include any additional spraying.
Health officials have also reached out to area hospitals. Officials are asking doctors to be on the lookout for people with those symptoms.
Leon County Health Department Release: Mosquito-borne disease alert issued for Leon County, Second Human Case of West Nile Virus Infection Confirmed
Tallahassee, FL - November 8, 2012 - Today, the administrators of Leon and Wakulla County Health Departments, Homer J. Rice, RS, MPH, PhD, and Padraic Juarez, RS, MS, CPM, announced that the Florida Department of Health (DOH) has issued a mosquito-borne illness alert for Leon County. Wakulla County remains under a mosquito-borne advisory. A second human case of West Nile Virus has been confirmed, and there is a heightened concern that additional residents may become ill. The most recent case involves a 60-year-old man who lived outside and traveled in both counties during the time he was exposed.
Symptoms of West Nile Virus may include headache, fever, fatigue, dizziness, weakness and confusion. Members of the public who develop a fever or other signs of illness should consult with their health care providers. Health care providers should contact Leon or Wakulla County Health Department if they suspect an individual may be infected with a mosquito-borne illness.
Both county health departments remind residents and visitors to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes. County Mosquito Control and the health departments continue surveillance and prevention efforts and encourage everyone to take basic precautions to help limit exposure by following the Department of Health recommendations below.
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 Leon (850-606-8350) or Wakulla County Health Department’s environmental health division (850-926-0400).