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Residents reminded to 'drain and cover' to protect from mosquitoes

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Florida Department of Health in Duval County is reminding residents to “drain and cover” in order to protect themselves from mosquito-borne illnesses.

Wayne Gale, president of the Florida Mosquito Control Association, said that summer is a crucial time for mosquito protection.

“Mosquito surveillance and control happens year-round in Florida, but the hotter, wetter months produce ideal conditions for disease-spreading mosquitoes,” he said, “so be sure to lessen your risk of being bitten and eliminate potential breeding sites.”

Zika, Eastern equine encephalitis, West Nile virus and St. Louis encephalitis virus are present in mosquitoes in Florida. However, Florida Surgeon General and Secretary Dr. Celeste Philip said that there is no active, ongoing transmission of Zika in Florida.

“Zika is one of several mosquito-borne illnesses that occur in Florida,” she said, “so be sure to drain water from any containers around your home, cover your skin with clothing and mosquito repellent and cover doors and windows with screen to keep mosquitoes out of your home or business.”

The risk of disease transmission through bites of infected mosquitoes to humans has increased.

To protect against mosquitoes, residents should “drain and cover.”

This includes draining standing water from garbage cans, buckets, pool covers or other containers where water has collected; discarding old tires, drums, bottles and other similar appliances no longer used; emptying and cleaning birdbaths and pet water bowls at least once a week; protecting boats and vehicles from rain with tarps; and maintaining swimming pools in good condition. 

The department also recommends covering skin with clothing like shoes, socks, long pants and long sleeves when outside with mosquitoes. It also encourages using mosquito repellent on exposed skin and mosquito netting for children younger than 2 months.

Homeowners should also consider covering doors and windows with screens to keep mosquitoes out of houses.