Pontiac, Michigan -- The possible risk for mosquito-borne diseases such as West Nile Virus (WNV) will continue until late fall when nighttime temperatures fall below freezing. Oakland County Health Division reminds residents to protect themselves from mosquito bites during outdoor events such as picnics, concerts, fairs and sporting activities. Heavy rainfall and high temperatures this summer have contributed to an increased number of mosquitoes.
"Prevention is the key to reducing mosquito bites and lowering the risk of West Nile Virus and other mosquito-borne illnesses, especially in the evening and nighttime hours when mosquitoes are most active, " said Kathy Forzley, manager/health officer of Oakland County Health Division.
Practice prevention to reduce the risk of mosquito-borne diseases by:
- Eliminating mosquito breeding sites around your home. Empty standing water from: flower pots, pet bowls, clogged rain gutters, swimming pool covers, old tires, buckets, barrels, cans and similar items where mosquitoes can lay eggs. For a list of other nonchemical mosquito control suggestions visit the State of Michigan Emerging Disease Issues website at: http://www.michigan.gov/emergingdiseases/. Select "West Nile Virus," then "Mosquito Control" and finally, "Homeowner Mosquito Control."
- Using an insect repellent that contains an active ingredient approved by the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Carefully follow manufacturer's instructions, especially when using on or around children. Visit the EPA website at: http://www.epa.gov/pesticides/health/mosquitoes/ai_insectrp.htm for more information on insect repellents.
Nonchemical ideas to prevent mosquitoes from biting include:
- Avoid shaded and wooded areas where mosquitoes may be present
- Wear long-sleeve shirts, long pants, socks and shoes when outdoors
- Limit outdoor activity between dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active
- Use a fan while sitting outside - as long as the fan is blowing air around mosquitoes won't be biting you
- Maintain window and door screens to keep mosquitoes outside
Mosquitoes become infected with WNV and other mosquito-borne diseases by biting a bird that carries the virus. The virus is then spread to humans through the bite of the infected mosquito. Most people infected with mosquito-borne diseases either have no symptoms or experience a mild illness such as fever, headache and body aches. However, in some individuals, mostly the elderly, a much more serious disease affecting the brain tissue can develop.