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For the fourth time this year, Florida health officials are reporting a human West Nile virus (WNV) case.

On Friday, the Florida Department of Health in Volusia County (DOH-Volusia) confirmed a case of WNV infection.

Image/CDC
Image/CDC

While none of the county’s sentinel chickens have tested positive for antibodies to the virus, this single case increases the concern for transmission to humans. Sentinel chickens are used to detect some mosquito-borne illnesses, such as West Nile virus. The birds do not develop disease symptoms but will test positive to antibodies if infected.

Volusia County Mosquito Control and DOH-Volusia continue surveillance and prevention efforts.

Earlier this year, human WNV cases were reported in Escambia County (October), Santa Rosa County (September) and Taylor County (October). In addition, one asymptomatic positive blood donor was reported from Escambia County (August).

DOH-Volusia recommends that residents and visitors should avoid being bitten by mosquitoes by taking basic precautions to help to limit exposure, including:

DRAIN standing water to stop mosquitoes from multiplying.

  • 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’s 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.

  • Clothing – 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.
  • Repellent – Apply mosquito repellent to bare skin and clothing.
    • Always use repellents according to the label. Repellents with DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, para-menthane-diol, and IR3535 are effective.
    • Use mosquito netting to protect children younger than 2 months old.

Tips on Repellent Use

  • Always read label directions carefully for the approved usage before you apply a repellent. Some repellents are not suitable for children.
  • Products with concentrations of up to 30 percent DEET (N, N-diethyl-m-toluamide) are generally recommended. Other U.S. Environmental Protection Agency-approved repellents contain picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, para-menthane-diol, or IR3535. These products are generally available at local pharmacies. Look for active ingredients to be listed on the product label.
  • Apply insect repellent to exposed skin, or onto clothing, but not under clothing.
  • In protecting children, read label instructions to be sure the repellent is age-appropriate. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), mosquito repellents containing oil of lemon eucalyptus should not be used on children under the age of three years. DEET is not recommended on children younger than two months old.
  • Avoid applying repellents to the hands of children. Adults should apply repellent first to their own hands and then transfer it to the child’s skin and clothing.
  • If additional protection is necessary, apply a permethrin repellent directly to your clothing. Again, always follow the manufacturer’s directions.

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COVER doors and windows with screens to keep mosquitoes out of your house.

  • Repair broken screening on windows, doors, porches, and patios.

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