Pontiac, MI -- The Oakland County Health Division reminds residents that there is a greater risk for mosquitoes and mosquito-borne illnesses such as the West Nile Virus (WNV), Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) and Saint Louis Encephalitis (SLE) due to the large amount of rain that has fallen this spring. The Health Division urges residents to take precautionary measures when working or playing outdoors.
“Mosquito populations are likely to be higher than normal due to the extensive amount of standing water as a result of the rain we received this spring,” 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
• Maintain window and door screens to keep mosquitoes outside
According to the National Weather Service in White Lake, total rainfall amounts for spring 2011 (March, April, May) measured just over 16” compared to spring 2010 when just under 11” of rain was recorded. While wet weather alone is not linked to mosquito-borne diseases, it can create the perfect habitat for mosquitoes to breed.
Mosquitoes are infected with WNV or SLE 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 WNV or SLE virus have either 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.