May 15, 2012
Public health officials at the Health Department are reminding the public that now is the time to eliminate mosquito breeding areas.
“The extremely mild winter has made conditions favorable for mosquito breeding,” said Matthew Work, Director of Environmental Health at the Mansfield/Ontario/Richland County Health Department. “Standing water combined with warmer weather will cause an increase in mosquito counts over the summer.”
For these reasons there is increased concern about mosquito-borne diseases. “Our main focus is to reduce the risk of West Nile virus, and viral infections such as Eastern and Western equine encephalitis, St. Louis encephalitis and California La Crosse encephalitis/meningitis,” Work said. “All of these diseases can only be spread by the bite of an infected mosquito carrying the virus.”
Health Department officials are encouraging Richland County residents to take precautions to protect yourself and your family from mosquito bites:
To eliminate mosquito breeding sites near your home:
- Recycle all unused tires or make sure they are not holding water. Each tire can become a breeding area for thousands of mosquitoes.
- Eliminate water-holding containers, such as tin cans and unused flowerpots, from your property.
- Eliminate or drain areas on your property where standing water lasts more than seven (7) days.
- Make sure all roof gutters are clean and drain properly.
- Clean and chlorinate pools, outdoor saunas and hot tubs. Keep them empty when not in use and drain water from pool covers.
- Change water in birdbaths weekly.
- Change water in kiddie pools regularly and eliminate standing water that collects around the edges of the pools.
To avoid possible mosquito bites:
- Typically mosquitoes are most active between dusk and dawn. However, mosquitoes known to cause California La Crosse encephalitis/meningitis also bite during the daylight hours.
- When outdoors, be sure to wear long pants, long-sleeved shirts, shoes, and socks. Light colors are less attractive to mosquitoes.
- Use insect repellent containing DEET, picaridin or lemon eucalyptus oil and follow label directions especially when applying to young children; usually a concentration of 30 percent DEET for adults and 10 percent or less for children is effective.
Anyone bitten by an infected mosquito could become ill. Children under age 16 are at greater risk of infection for La Crosse encephalitis. Symptoms, which may occur five to 15 days after a bite, are usually mild, including fever, nausea, vomiting and tiredness although cases can be more severe.
For more information on mosquito control, call Environmental Health at 419-774-4520.
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