Pontiac, Michigan -- Oakland County Health Division urges residents to take preventive measures now to keep the mosquito population low this season and help prevent West Nile Virus (WNV) or other mosquito-borne diseases because mosquitoes have arrived early this year. A mild winter and warmer than normal spring temperatures have resulted in the mosquito season in Oakland County starting two to three weeks ahead of the usual late March/early April hatch of spring floodwater mosquitoes.
"People are enjoying outdoor activities earlier than usual this year, and we are receiving phone calls from residents concerned about large mosquito populations in their yards," Oakland County Health Division Manager/Health Officer Kathy Forzley said. "Eliminating standing water that is the source of mosquito breeding can reduce the mosquito population. This includes landscape ponds or fountains that are not usually used until later in the season. Either drain them or run the pump so they are not used as a breeding habitat."
Spring mosquitoes do not usually transmit WNV or other mosquito-borne diseases. Reducing mosquito breeding sites now and throughout the summer months, however, can reduce the number of mosquitoes and the risk of mosquito-borne disease.
Some prevention measures to reduce the mosquito population and mosquito-borne disease include:
- Eliminate 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:
- Use 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 these products on or around children. Visit the EPA website at: www.epa.gov/pesticides/health/mosquitoes/ai_insectrp.htm
- 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.
Mosquitoes can be infected with WNV or other mosquito-borne diseases by biting a bird that carries the virus. The virus can then spread to humans through the bite of the infected mosquito. Most people infected with WNV or other mosquito-borne diseases have either no symptoms or experience a mild illness such as fever, headache and body aches. In some individuals, mostly the elderly, however, a much more serious disease affecting the brain tissue can develop.
For media inquiries only, contact Kathy Forzley, Manager/Health Officer, Oakland County Health Division at 248-858-1410.