Guard against mosquito bites to avoid the West Nile virus

6/27/2014, 6:02 a.m.
Eliminate standing water outside your home. Warm weather and stagnant water are ideal conditions for breeding mosquitoes.

Warm weather and standing water are the perfect recipe for breeding mosquitoes.

The pesky little insects not only bite, they also carry disease, including the West Nile virus, and they can spread the disease to humans.

The DeKalb Board of Health says the easiest and best way to avoid the virus is to prevent mosquito bites.

Adults are at the highest risk, and people ages 50 and older have the highest risk of becoming seriously ill when they get infected.

To protect yourself and your family from West Nile virus and other mosquito-borne diseases, the Board of Health advises:

  • Apply insect repellent. DEET (N, N-diethyl-meta-toluamide), picaridin and oil of lemon eucalyptus are effective repellents recommended by the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

  • Apply permethrin to clothing, shoes, bed nets and camping gear but not to skin. With any repellent, follow manufacturer’s instructions.

  • When possible, wear long sleeves, long pants and socks.

  • Use extra care during peak biting hours, which are from dusk to dawn.

Mosquito-proof your home

  • Drain or eliminate standing water, including items such as plant dishes, birdbaths, kiddie pools, toys and buckets.

  • Make sure roof gutters are clean and drain properly.

  • Remove trash, even small items like bottle caps.

  • Install or repair window screens.

Mosquitoes need water. They need stagnant, shaded water as breeding sites for their eggs to develop into adult mosquitoes. Eliminating standing water is an important part of mosquito control.

The Board of Health is taking reports on dead bird sightings in DeKalb County. Report any birds that do not have an obvious cause of death, such as injuries from power lines, collisions with cars or gunshots. The addresses of all dead birds are mapped and used to analyze the potential of West Nile virus activity.

The board’s West Nile Virus Control Program monitors for the presence of West Nile virus and other arthropod-borne viruses (Arbovirus) and works to minimize the potential for virus transmission to humans. For more information, visit dekalbhealth.net.