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Wet winter could mean more West Nile cases

POSTED: May 14, 2010 9:56 a.m.
Winter’s heavy rains likely will increase the mosquito population in Liberty County, according to county mosquito control department officials. Although the region is not currently experiencing a mosquito-borne disease threat, cases of west Nile virus have been reported in other parts of Georgia.
Mosquitoes can carry west Nile virus and eastern equine encephalitis. Both WNV and EEE are transmitted by the bite of infected mosquitoes and can cause serious illness.
The Liberty County Health Department urges residents to take precautions now and throughout the summer to minimize mosquitoes around property.
There are several easy ways to reduce mosquito breeding including removing water-holding containers, changing water frequently in pet dishes, changing bird bath water at least twice a week and avoiding using saucers under outdoor potted plants. In addition, consider organizing or participating in clean-up activities to pick up garbage from parks and other public spaces. By limiting potential breeding grounds for mosquitoes, every resident can help to stop the transmission of mosquito-borne diseases.
The Liberty County Health Department encourages residents to follow the five “Ds” of prevention:
• Dusk: Mosquitoes carrying west Nile virus usually bite at dusk and dawn.
• Dawn: Avoid outdoor activity at dusk and dawn if possible. If you must be outside, be sure to protect yourself from bites.
• Dress: Wear long-sleeved shirts and pants to reduce the amount of exposed skin.
• DEET: Cover exposed skin with an insect repellent containing the chemical DEET, which is the most effective repellent against mosquito bites.
• Drain: Empty any containers holding standing water because they can be excellent breeding grounds for virus-carrying mosquitoes.

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