NAPLES, Fla. — State health officials advised residents in two southwest Florida counties to take precautions against mosquitoes after West Nile virus was confirmed in people.
The health department in Lee County reported one human case of West Nile, according to spokeswoman Tammy Yzaguirre. The health department in Collier County declined to say how many cases of human infection have been identified.
The public is advised to take precautions against mosquitoes by covering exposed skin with clothing and using insect repellent.
In addition, the health department recommends reducing mosquito breeding grounds around homes by draining standing water from pots, birdbaths, coolers, garbage cans and other items where water can accumulate.
The Collier Mosquito Control District on Sept. 19 issued an advisory that its scientists had detected West Nile in local mosquitoes and was treating adult mosquitoes in standing water.
“Hurricane Sally left us with an abundance of standing water, and this week we’ve not only treated for mosquitoes, but we’ve applied larvicide granules which have a 30-day release to kill mosquito larvae,” Patrick Linn, executive director of the district, said. “We will continue to work at mitigating the number of adult mosquitoes in coming weeks.”
Most people who are infected with the mosquito-borne virus don’t show symptoms or only have minor symptoms like mild headache and fever, and the symptoms generally go away on their own, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
More serious symptoms are severe headache, weakness and disorientation which require immediate medical attention. In some cases, people develop inflammation of the spinal cord or brain, which can be life-threatening.
The health department advises using mosquito repellent that contains DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, para-menthane-diol, 2-undecanone, and IR3535.
Repellent should be used to protect children younger than two months old.
The district monitors daily mosquito data for treatment planning and for performing in-house testing of local mosquitoes for West Nile and other mosquito-borne health threats.