JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Another confirmed human case of West Nile virus in Duval County brings the total number of cases this year to 13, the Florida Department of Health said Monday.
The health department said the latest case of the mosquito-borne illness underscores the ongoing concern that the virus could be spread to more people than it already has.
Jacksonville Mosquito Control and the Duval County DOH continue surveillance and prevention efforts. Health officials caution not to focus on the specific location of cases as the mosquitos that can spread West Nile Virus can travel five or more miles and birds infected with West Nile can go even farther.
Below is a list of some of the things you can do to protect yourself and your loved ones:
- Drain standing water from garbage cans and any other items around the house that can become breeding grounds for mosquitoes.
- Check to see if the screens on your doors and windows are in good shape. If they're not, repair any broken screens as needed to keep the pests out of your house.
- Keep your swimming pool clean and make sure it has the right level of chlorine. If you've got a plastic swimming pool, empty it when it's not in use.
- Cover up your exposed skin with long pants and long sleeves. This is important, particularly for people who work outdoors or where mosquitoes are found.
- Be sure to apply mosquito repellent to bare skin. Products containing DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon, eucalyptus, para-menthane-diol and IR3535 are effective.
- If the county doesn’t spray where you live, you can always call a private pest control company to come out and spray the outside of your home. Some companies even offer event spraying and will treat your yard before a backyard barbecue or whatever you have planned.
For more information on what repellent is right for you, health officials encouraged residents to consider using the Environmental Protection Agency’s search tool to help choose skin-applied repellent products: http://cfpub.epa.gov/oppref/insect/#searchform.
The Department of Health 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 of Florida are encouraged to report dead birds via the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s site -- http://legacy.myfwc.com/bird/default.asp. For more information, visit DOH’s website at http://www.floridahealth.gov/%5C/diseases-and-conditions/mosquito-borne-diseases/index.html or call your local county health department.