VDH warns summer’s not the end of mosquitoes

Published 11:38 am Thursday, August 27, 2015

Summer may be ending, but mosquitoes are still breeding and biting in Virginia.

The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) urges everyone to pay attention to prevention. It is the best way to combat mosquito-borne illnesses, such as those caused by West Nile virus (WNV) and La Crosse encephalitis (LAC) virus.

WNV disease has been reported in four Virginians as of August 25. This is not unusual in Virginia: there were seven reports of WNV disease in people last year, and six in 2013.

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Most people bitten by a mosquito will not get sick, but WNV, LAC virus and other mosquito-borne viruses can cause serious illness. The best defense is to protect yourself from being bitten by mosquitoes and to eliminate mosquito-breeding areas. Mosquito species that need to be controlled breed in standing water within a few hundred feet of homes.

Protecting yourself and taking some simple control measures around the house can be very effective in managing the mosquito population and protecting against mosquito bites: make sure windows and doors have screens to keep mosquitoes from coming into your home; wear long, loose and light-colored clothing when outdoors; use insect repellent products with no more than 50 percent DEET for adults and less than 10 percent for children (follow label instructions carefully); turn over or remove containers in your yard where any water may collect, such as old tires, potted plant trays, garbage cans, buckets and toys; eliminate any standing water in yards or on tarps, boats or flat roofs; chlorinate or clean out birdbaths and wading pools every three to five days; clean roof gutters and downspout screens regularly (mosquitoes breed and feed in standing water in roof gutters); clear obstructions in ditches so they flow and drain and fill in puddles with soil, a mixture of sand and gravel, or dig drainage ditches to drain puddles.