Be Mosquito Smart

There are various diseases (Malaria, Encephalitis, Dengue Fever, and Yellow Fever) that are transmitted by mosquitos. Living in Florida, we can never truly be mosquito-free, but we can be mosquito smart. There are simple actions that we can take to reduce our risk of infection from one of these mosquito-borne diseases.

Protect Yourself

Q. Is there a human vaccine against encephalitis?
A. No, but several companies are working towards developing a vaccine.

Q. What can I do to reduce my risk of becoming infected?
A. Anything that you do that reduces your exposure to mosquitos will reduce your risk:

 

  • Remove all potential sources of stagnant water in which mosquitoes might breed.
  • Stay indoors at dawn, dusk, and in the early evening.
  • Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants whenever you are outdoors.
  • Spray clothing with repellents containing permethrin or DEET since mosquitoes may bite through thin clothing.
  • Apply insect repellent sparingly to exposed skin. An effective repellent will contain 35% DEET (N,N-diethyl-meta-toluamide). DEET in high concentrations (greater than 35%) provides no additional protection.
  • Repellents may irritate the eyes and mouth, so avoid applying repellent to the hands of children. Whenever you use an insecticide or insect repellent, be sure to read and follow the manufacturer's DIRECTIONS FOR USE, as printed on the product.
  • Note: Vitamin B and "ultrasonic" devices are NOT effective in preventing mosquito bites Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Protect Your Horses

Q. Is there an equine vaccine against encephalitis?
A. Vaccines are now available for both Eastern Equine Encephalitis and West Nile Virus. Please check with your local veterinarian for more information.

Q. What can I do to reduce my horses' risk of becoming infected?
A. Anything that you do that reduces your horses' exposure to mosquitos will reduce its risk:

 

  • Remove all potential sources of stagnant water in which mosquitoes might breed.
  • Horses should be stabled inside during peak mosquito feeding times which are dawn and dusk.
  • Use of mosquito resistant structures such as well maintained insect screening and fans may reduce potential access of mosquitoes to equine and other livestock hosts.
  • Insect repellents approved for use on horses may be of some value in decreasing exposure, however there are limitations due to limited duration of effectiveness of some formulations under certain conditions (e.g. rain, perspiration).
  • Horse owners are encouraged to contact their veterinarian immediately should they notice any signs or symptoms of Encephalitis infection in their horses, especially those exhibiting neurological signs. Source: Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services

Protect Your Pets

Q. How do dogs or cats become infected with West Nile virus?
A. The same way humans become infected----by the bite of infectious mosquitoes.

Q. What can I do to reduce my pets' risk of becoming infected?
A. By reducing your pets' exposure to mosquitos you will reduce its risk:

 

  • Remove all potential sources of stagnant water around your home in which mosquitoes might breed.
  • Your pets should be kept inside during peak mosquito feeding times which are dawn and dusk.
  • You are encouraged to contact your veterinarian if you are concerned about the health of your pets.

Prepare Your Home

Remove all potential sources of stagnant water in which mosquitoes might breed. Mosquitoes can breed in any puddle that lasts more than four days.

Water buckets, water troughs, wading pools, bird baths, wheelbarrows, clogged roof gutters, discarded tires, plastic containers or any water-holding container should be cleaned or emptied on a weekly basis.

Drill holes in the bottom of containers that are left out-of-doors, turn over wheelbarrows, aerate ornamental pools and stock them with fish or chlorinate them.