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 the 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, though the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advise that Zika can be transmitted by a man to his sex partners.
- There are no confirmed cases of Zika or other mosquito-borne viruses at this time in the Florida Keys.
- More than 385 people in mainland Florida as well as others in other states have been reported as contracting Zika after visiting South America or the Caribbean. It is highly likely that there are four locally acquired cases of Zika virus infection on the south Florida mainland, according to the Florida Department of Health.
- 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 in Cape Verde, the Caribbean, Central America, Mexico, the Pacific Islands and South America.
- There are no travel advisories issued by state, federal or international health officials counseling people not to vacation in Florida or the Florida Keys.
- 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.
- There has never been a report of a locally acquired case of chikungunya or Zika anywhere in the Florida Keys, according to health officials.
- 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
Or contact the Florida Department of Health in Monroe at 305-293-7500.