SARASOTA, Fla. — The Florida Department of Health is advising residents of an increase in mosquito-borne disease activity after pools of mosquitoes trapped in Sarasota County tested positive for West Nile Virus.
A pool is defined as a collection of no more than 50 mosquitoes.
The pools of mosquitoes that tested positive for the virus were collected in unincorporated areas of Sarasota County near Venice, an area that Sarasota County Mosquito Management Services has already treated.
This is the first time in 2018 that the virus has been detected in the area. Fortunately, no human cases of West Nile have been reported in the county at this time.
West Nile Virus affects the central nervous system and can cause serious illness. However, about 80 percent of people who become infected with the virus will not show any symptoms.
Lee County Mosquito Control says it has seen an increase in activity lately, especially along the western side of Cape Coral and Pine Island. However, they have found no positive cases of West Nile in their testing.
"Residents should be aware that even though West Nile virus is currently not showing up on our radar in Lee County, action should still be taken to prevent mosquito bites. Wear long sleeves an pants to act as a barrier to skin when mosquitoes are present, and use CDC approved repellents," said Eric Jackson, a spokesperson with Lee County Mosquito Control.
To protect yourself from mosquitoes, you should remember to "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, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, para-menthane-diol, and IR3535 are effective.
- Use mosquito netting to protect children younger than 2 months old.
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 (N, N-diethyl-m-toluamide) are generally recommended. Other U.S. Environmental Protection Agency-approved repellents contain picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, para-menthane-diol,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 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (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.
COVER doors and windows with screens to keep mosquitoes out of your house.
- Repair broken screening on windows, doors, porches, and patios.
Residents, visitors and medical professionals with general questions about West Nile Virus are asked to call our Epidemiology department at (941) 861-2873.