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Five "Ds" of prevention can protect against mosquito-borne diseases

POSTED: July 4, 2008 5:00 a.m.
Summer is here and so is prime mosquito season. It's important to remember that mosquitoes can be more than just bothersome pests; they can also carry potentially dangerous viruses such as West Nile Virus and Eastern Equine Encephalitis Virus. Both WNV and EEEV are transmitted by the bite of infected mosquitoes and can cause serious illness.
Many people who become infected with WNV will have no symptoms, but severe cases can include high fever, headache, neck stiffness, disorientation, coma and paralysis.
EEEV is the more serious mosquito-borne diseases in the United States. While human infection is rare, about 35 percent of those who develop clinical symptoms of EEEV will die, and another 35 percent will have neurological deficits. Symptoms range from mild flu-like illness to encephalitis (inflammation of the brain), coma and death.
Taking simple precautions can help prevent potentially dangerous mosquito bites.
The Liberty County Health Department urges 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.
Don't let mosquitoes take the fun out of this summer. Take precautions that can help protect you and your family.
 

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