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Health officials in Martin County issue mosquito-borne illnesses advisory

Residents urged to drain standing water, cover skin with clothing
File photo
Posted at 1:22 PM, Nov 03, 2022
and last updated 2022-11-03 18:18:18-04

MARTIN COUNTY, Fla. — Residents in Martin County are advised to take extra precautions against mosquitos.

This advisory comes after the Florida Department of Health in Martin County said Thursday that West Nile and St. Louis encephalitis viruses were identified in sentinel chicken flocks.

Mosquito control conducts routine testing for mosquito-borne viruses using chicken flocks in various areas of the county.

Chickens are used to detect mosquito-borne illnesses in Martin County.
These chickens are used to detect mosquito-borne illnesses in Martin County.

Health officials said that currently there are no suspected or confirmed human cases of these viruses in the county. However, the risk of transmission to humans has increased.

"I would say it should be dying down around this time of year but we’ve noticed that it’s gotten a little bit wetter, especially following the rain events after Hurricane Ian, which has resulted in a significant increase in mosquitos as one would expect," Martin County mosquito control manager Geoffrey Duesterbeck said.

Residents and visitors are reminded to take basic precautions to help limit their exposure to mosquitoes.

Drain standing water to stop mosquitoes from multiplying

  • Drain water from garbage cans, house gutters, buckets, pool covers, coolers, toys, flowerpots or any other containers where sprinkler or rainwater has collected
  • Discard old tires, drums, bottles, cans, pots and pans, broken appliances and other items that aren't being used
  • Empty and clean birdbaths and pet water bowls at least once or twice a week
  • Protect boats and vehicles from rain with tarps that don’t accumulate water
  • Maintain swimming pools in good condition and appropriately chlorinated. Empty plastic swimming pools when not in use
Geoffrey Duesterbeck, Martin County mosquito control manager
Geoffrey Duesterbeck discusses efforts to fight mosquite-born illnesses in Martin County.

Cover skin with clothing or repellent

  • Clothing: Wear shoes, socks, and long pants and long-sleeves. This type of protection may be necessary for people who must work in areas where mosquitoes are present
  • Repellent: Apply mosquito repellent to bare skin and clothing
  • Always use repellents according to the label. Repellents with DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, para-menthane-diol, 2-undecanone and IR3535 are effective
  • Use mosquito netting to protect children younger than 2 months old

Cover doors and windows with screens to keep mosquitoes out of your house

  • Repair broken screening on windows, doors, porches and patios