Health officials issue advisories for mosquito-borne illnesses

TAMPA, FLA – The Florida Department of Health Hillsborough County (DOH-Hillsborough) is advising residents and visitors that there has been an increase in mosquito-borne disease activity in northwest Hillsborough County. Eastern equine encephalitis has been detected in two horses, raising the risk of transmission to humans. Hillsborough County Mosquito Control and DOH-Hillsborough continue surveillance and prevention efforts.

DOH-Hillsborough reminds residents and visitors to avoid mosquito bites and take basic precautions to help limit exposure.

Prevention of mosquito bites

Using the right insect repellent and other preventative measures can discourage mosquitoes from landing on you. Follow these Drain and cover tips to help prevent mosquito bites.

Drain it water from outside areas to reduce the number of places where mosquitoes can lay eggs and breed.

  • Drain water from trash cans, house gutters, buckets, pool covers, coolers, toys, flower pots, or any other container where sprinkler or rainwater has collected.
  • Throw away old tires, bottles, pots, broken appliances and other unused items.
  • Empty and clean birdbaths and pet water bowls at least twice a week.
  • Protect boats and vehicles from the rain with tarps that don’t collect water.
  • Keep pools in good condition and chlorinated. Empty plastic pools when not in use.

Download these infographics for more information: Mosquitoes – Keep them out and stop them from breeding and protect your home from mosquitoes.

overlay with protective clothing when outside and keep doors and windows closed to prevent mosquitoes from entering.

  • Wear shoes, socks, long pants and long sleeves while outdoors when and where mosquitoes are most prevalent to discourage mosquitoes from biting.
  • Apply insect repellent containing DEET (10-30%), picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, para-menthane-diol, 2-undecanone, or IR3535.
  • Treat clothing and equipment with products containing 0.5%. Do not apply permethrin directly to the skin. Some sports clothing and equipment come pre-treated with permethrin.
  • Use mosquito netting to protect children younger than 2 months.
  • Check and repair screens on doors and windows. Keep them closed and use air conditioning when possible.
  • Make sure window screens are in good repair to reduce the chance of mosquitoes inside.

Download the Florida mosquito bite protection infographic.

Tips for using repellent

  • For both mosquitoes and ticks, use EPA-approved insect repellent on exposed skin and clothing. EPA’s handy search tool can help you find the product that best fits your needs.
  • Follow the directions on the product label, especially if you are applying it to children.
  • Apply insect repellent to exposed skin, or over clothing, but not under clothing.
  • Always follow directions when applying insect repellent to children, and don’t use repellent with DEET on babies younger than 2 months or oil of lemon eucalyptus on children under 3.
  • Avoid applying repellents to children’s hands. Adults should apply repellent first to their hands and then transfer it to the child’s skin and clothing.

Travel tips

Mosquitoes spread viruses and parasites that cause disease. Before traveling to areas where mosquito-borne diseases are found, talk to your health care provider about your health concerns.

Mosquitoes need standing water to breed, so you may want to consider planning your trips to tropical regions during the dry season when mosquitoes are less prevalent. This is not to say that there are no mosquitoes outside of the rainy season, but the higher temperatures and fewer ponds to breed in make them significantly less active.

Visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website for more information on safe repellent use.

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About the Florida Department of Health

The department, nationally accredited by the Public Health Accreditation Board, works to protect, promote and improve the health of all people in Florida through integrated state, county and community efforts.

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