West Nile risk increased for county residents

Published: Thursday, September 27, 2012 at 2:47 p.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, September 27, 2012 at 2:47 p.m.

Alachua County officials have found West Nile Virus in several sentinel chicken flocks and a horse, increasing the risk of transmission for people in the area.

The county health department is continuing its prevention and disease surveillance work, but people are encouraged to take personal precautions as well.

To stave off mosquitoes, people should remember the phrase “drain and cover” - drain standing water and cover their skin.

Mosquitoes use standing water for breeding, so residents should drain water from garbage cans, gutters, toys, flower pots, pool covers and other items. Cleaning pets’ water bowls and birdbaths once or twice weekly helps too, and vehicles and boats should be protected with non-accumulating tarps.

Wearing long-sleeved shirts and pants, as well as shoes and socks, is a good tactic that is important for people who work in mosquito-heavy areas.

People also should use mosquito repellent on exposed skin, although children under 2 months should be protected with mosquito netting instead.

Repellent labels should be read carefully since some are not meant for use on children.

People also should cover their windows and doors with screens and repair broken ones to keep mosquitoes out of their homes.

For more information, call the county health department at 334-7930.

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