Mosquito Protection: What You Need to Know
The following, based on information from the Florida Department of Health in Monroe County, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Florida Keys Mosquito Control District, is provided to address any questions:
- Mosquito-borne illnesses such as dengue, chikungunya and Zika are viral diseases primarily transmitted by the Aedes aegypti mosquito, a freshwater breed common to the southeastern United States, the Bahamas, Caribbean, Central and South America as well as other tropical and subtropical locations. These diseases are not normally spread person-to-person. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advise that Zika is normally transmitted by the bite of an infected Aedes aegypti mosquito, although sexual transmission is also possible.
- According to the CDC, most people infected with Zika won’t have symptoms and for those who do, the illness is usually mild. However, Zika infection during pregnancy can cause a serious birth defect of the brain called microcephaly and other severe fetal birth defects.
- In the Middle Florida Keys, the Florida Department of Health has identified a single, foreign travel-related case of Zika. A Marathon woman apparently contracted the virus when bitten by a mosquito while traveling in the Caribbean. She is expected to make a full recovery. There is no indication of any other Zika case in the Keys at this time, according to the region's health director Bob Eadie, who added that there is no evidence of active transmission in the Keys.
- Health officials are asking the public to be aware of the disease. The Centers for Disease Control has issued an advisory counseling pregnant women to avoid traveling to a number of Zika-affected countries and territories including Cape Verde, the Caribbean, Central America, Mexico, the Pacific Islands and South America.
- The CDC is advising pregnant women or women wishing to become pregnant to avoid traveling to two small areas in Miami-Dade County because they are considered active transmission zones. Click on the CDC website below for additional details.
- Traditionally in Florida, mosquitoes are most active in summer and early fall and more dormant in late fall through spring.
- To help avoid being bitten by Aedes aegypti or other mosquito species, health and mosquito control officials advise using mosquito repellents that contain 20 to 30 percent DEET, picaridin or oil of lemon eucalyptus. DEET is not recommended for use on children younger than 2 months old. Wearing permethrin-treated long-sleeved shirts and pants, when comfortable to do so, provides additional protection. When inside, close windows and use air conditioning. Or, if windows are open, check screens to ensure there are no holes.
- The Florida Keys Mosquito Control District has an aggressive mosquito suppression and abatement program. New technologies used include aerial application of an innovative larvicide that targets the mosquito larvae and stops them from reaching adulthood. The larvicide is non-toxic to humans and animals.
- People are advised to eliminate standing water in yards and gardens, where mosquitoes like to breed, in containers that can retain rainwater such as coolers, flower pots or buckets.
More information is available via these links:
- Florida Department of Health in Monroe County
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- Florida Keys Mosquito Control
- Zika Virus Information Hotline 1-855-622-6735
Or contact the Florida Department of Health in Monroe at 305-293-7500.