W. Va. — The onset of warmer weather means more time spent outdoors.
At the same time, Monongalia County Health Department’s Environmental Health program wants to remind the community to be vigilant in avoiding mosquitoes, which can carry diseases.
Mosquitoes can transfer diseases, including yellow fever, dengue fever, West Nile virus, Zika and Eastern Equine Encephalitis, the latter of which can affect horses in the Eastern United States.
Other diseases affect humans and are more common in other areas, although Zika and dengue fever can be found in the southeastern U.S. and West Nile Virus has been diagnosed throughout the country.
Zika is of particular concern to pregnant women, who should avoid traveling to areas known to have Zika. Zika can severely harm the fetus, causing microcephaly and other severe fetal brain defects. Locations that have had Zika include Texas and Florida, although no Zika has been reported in the U.S. in 2018; as well as Central and South America, the Caribbean and large portions of Africa and Asia. Check out this link to a world map of areas of concern for Zika: wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/page/world-map-areas-with-zika
Travelers to locales, including the Caribbean, Central and South America, Africa and Asia should be aware of mosquito-borne diseases and take precautions against them. The Environmental Protect Agency (EPA) has a search tool to find recommended insect repellents: epa.gov/insect-repellents/find-repellent-right-you.
At home, the best way to avoid mosquitoes is to eliminate places where mosquitoes lay their eggs, including anything that holds water in and around the home.
MCHD Environmental Health has a free product available to the public called Mosquito Dunks. The doughnut-shaped item is placed in standing water and slowly releases mosquito larvicide into the water for up to 30 days. EPA-approved dunks are not toxic to people and are harmless to beneficial insects, pets, birds, fish and wildlife.
Dunks can be used in bird baths, flower pots, rain barrels, roof gutters, unused swimming pools, water gardens, tree holes and other places where standing water might attract mosquitoes.
For more information on mosquitoes, go to the CDC’s website at cdc.gov and search “mosquitoes” or for the particular disease of concern.
For more information on MCHD, check out monchd.org and follow us on Facebook and Twitter @WVMCHD for up-to-date information on health and safety.
For a free package of Mosquito Dunks, call MCHD Environmental Health at 304-598-5131.