Even though cooler fall temperatures have arrived, DeKalb County residents should continue to protect themselves from West Nile virus. The best protection against the virus is to prevent mosquito bites.
Four DeKalb County residents have been diagnosed with West Nile virus this year. Additionally, a routine screening found West Nile virus in the blood of a DeKalb County blood donor. This positive screening result means that the donor had been recently bitten by an infected mosquito. The donation did not get into the blood supply.
Furthermore, monitoring has detected a large quantity of mosquitoes that belong to the species that transmits the virus. Many more mosquitoes have tested positive for West Nile virus than in previous years. One bird has also tested positive.
“We want residents to understand that anytime the temperature is over 50 degrees, our mosquito population will be active and biting,” said S. Elizabeth Ford, M.D., M.B.A., district health director of the DeKalb County Board of Health. “So, residents must continue to protect themselves and their family members when outdoors. Don’t put away the mosquito repellant just yet.”
This fall, while raking leaves, gardening, attending a ballgame or enjoying another outdoor activity, follow these precautions against being bitten by mosquitoes:
• Reduce outdoor exposure at dawn and dusk, when the mosquitoes that transmit West Nile virus are most active.
•Use an insect repellent containing DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus or IR3535. Apply according to label instructions.
•Spray clothing with products containing permethrin. Follow label instructions.
•Wear long-sleeved shirts, long pants and socks when outdoors, particularly at dawn and dusk and in areas with large numbers of mosquitoes.
•Reduce mosquito breeding in your yard by eliminating standing water in gutters and items such as planters, toys, wheelbarrows and old tires.
•Discourage mosquitoes from resting in your yard by trimming tall grass, weeds and vines.
•Make sure window and door screens fit tightly to keep mosquitoes out of your home.
For more information, contact the DeKalb County Board of Health at (404) 508-7871 or visit www.dekalbhealth.net.