BRADENTON, Fla. — The Florida Department of Health in Manatee County issued a mosquito-borne illness advisory after confirming a human case of West Nile virus.
Residents and visitors are reminded to avoid being bitten by mosquitos and to take precautions to help limit their exposure. The DOH asks the public to "Drain and Cover."
• Drain water from garbage cans, buckets, pool covers, coolers, toys, flower pots 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.
• If outside while mosquitos are active, cover up with shoes, socks, long pants and long sleeves.
• Apply mosquito repellent to bare skin and clothing. Always use repellents according to the label. Repellents with 10-30 percent DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, and IR3535 are effective.
• Use mosquito netting to protect children younger than 2 months old.
• Keep mosquitoes out of your house by covering windows, doors, porches and patios with screens.
The department also provides extra tips on eliminating mosquito breeding sites:
• Clean out troughs and gutters;
• Remove old tires or drill holes in those used in playgrounds to drain;
• Turn over or remove empty plastic pots;
• Pick up all beverage containers and cups;
• Check tarps on boats or other equipment that may collect water;
• Replace water in birdbaths and pet or other animal feeding dishes at least once a week;
• Change water in plant trays, including hanging plants, at least once a week; and
• Remove vegetation or obstructions in drainage ditches that prevent the flow of water.
• The department has created a public service announcement on the “Drain and Cover” method, which can be viewed here. Click here for our downloadable poster on preventing mosquito bites.
The department asks residents to report dead birds through this form on the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission's site.
If you're having trouble finding the right repellent for you, you can use this tool from the Environmental Protection Agency.