The Florida Department of Health in Sarasota County (DOH-Sarasota) has advised residents there has been an increase in mosquito-borne disease activity in areas of Sarasota County. Three sentinel chickens have tested positive for West Nile virus infection, and the risk of transmission to humans has increased. Sarasota County Mosquito Control and DOH-Sarasota will continue surveillance and prevention efforts; DOH-Sarasota reminds residents and visitors to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes and to take basic precautions to help limit exposure.
To protect yourself from mosquitoes, take the following steps:
- 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 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.
- 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.
- Apply mosquito repellent to bare skin and clothing. (Repellents with DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, para-menthane-diol, 2-undecanone and IR3535 are effective; use mosquito netting to protect children younger than 2 months old. Always read label directions carefully for approved usage.)
- Cover doors and windows with screens to keep mosquitoes out of your house and repair broken screening on windows, doors, porches, and patios.
The Florida Department of Health also continues to conduct statewide surveillance for mosquito-borne illnesses, including West Nile virus infections, Eastern equine encephalitis, St. Louis encephalitis, malaria, chikungunya and dengue. Residents are encouraged to report dead birds via the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s website. For more information, visit the DOH’s website.