FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 1, 2005
CONTACT: Doc Kokol (850) 245-4111
Department of Health Urges Precautionary Measures to Prevent West Nile Virus and Other Mosquito-borne Illnesses
TALLAHASSEE – Due to floodwaters from
Hurricane Katrina, Florida Department of Health (DOH)
officials emphasize the importance of Florida’s
residents and visitors protecting themselves against
DOH continues to advise the public to remain diligent
in their protecting themselves from mosquito bites by
following the “5 D’s,” which include:
- Dusk and Dawn – Avoid being outdoors when
mosquitoes are seeking blood. For many species, this
is during the dusk and dawn hours.
- Dress – Wear
clothing that covers most of your skin.
- DEET –
When the potential exists for exposure to
mosquitoes, repellents containing DEET (N,N-diethyl-meta-toluamide,
or N,N-diethyl-3-methylbenzamide) are recommended.
Picaridin and oil of lemon eucalyptus are other
repellent options. If additional protection is
necessary, a permethrin repellent can be applied
directly to your clothing. Again, always follow the
- Drainage – Check around
your home to rid the area of standing water, which
is where mosquitoes can lay their eggs.
Tips on Repellent Use
- Always read label directions carefully for the
approved usage before applying a repellent to skin.
Some repellants are not suitable for children.
Products with concentrations of up to 30 percent
DEET are generally recommended. Other potential
mosquito repellents, as reported by the Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in April 2005,
contain picaridin or oil of lemon eucalyptus. 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
- 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 3 years. DEET is not recommended on children younger than 2
- Infants should be kept indoors or
mosquito netting should be used over carriers when
mosquitoes are present.
- 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.
Tips on Eliminating Mosquito Breeding Sites
Elimination of breeding sites is one of the keys to
- Clean out eaves, troughs and gutters.
old tires or drill holes in those used in
playgrounds to drain.
- Turn over or remove empty
- Pick up all beverage containers and
- 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.
Symptoms of West Nile virus may include headache,
fever, fatigue, dizziness, weakness and confusion.
Physicians should contact their county health department
if they suspect an individual may have a mosquito-borne
illness. DOH laboratories provide testing services for
physicians treating patients with clinical signs of
DOH continues to conduct statewide surveillance for
mosquito borne illnesses, including West Nile (WN)
virus, Eastern Equine Encephalomyelitis (EEE), St. Louis
Encephalitis (SLE), malaria and dengue. For more
information on mosquito-borne illnesses, visit DOH’s
Environmental Health Web site at
call the West Nile Virus Hot line at 1-888-880-5782 or
your local county health department.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
maintains a Web site for reporting wild bird die offs
related to West Nile Virus. To report a suspected case,
Florida Emergency Information Line: 1-800-342-3557
Public Information Emergency Support Function:
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