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vector - mosquitoes

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Protecting you and your family from disease.

Can a mosquito bite make me sick?

Yes.  If a mosquito bites an infected bird or mammal, it can then transmit viruses to humans.

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These viruses can make some people very sick with encephalitis, causing inflammation of the brain and nervous system. Normally, these diseases can only be transmitted by the bite of an infected mosquito. An infected animal or person cannot pass the infection on to another animal or person. Since only the female mosquitoes take a blood meal, only female mosquitoes spread these diseases. Once a mosquito becomes infected, it remains so for life, which is generally just a few weeks.

People can get the following diseases from mosquitoes in Ohio:

  • Eastern equine encephalitis (EEE)
  • La Crosse encephalitis (LAC)
  • St. Louis encephalitis (SLE)
  • West Nile Virus (WNV)

What are the symptoms of mosquito-borne viruses?

Most people infected with mosquito-borne viruses show no symptoms. Some people infected with a mosquito-borne virus have a mild fever, headache and muscle aches that will last up to a week. A small number of infected people will develop severe illness requiring hospitalization. These people may have body aches, fever, confusion, weakness, stiff neck, tremors, and convulsions and may die.

People over 50 years old who become infected with WNV, SLE or EEE are more likely to develop severe illness and may die from the disease. Children under the age of 16 who contract LAC or EEE are more likely than adults to develop severe illness. People with existing health problems who become infected with a mosquito-borne disease are at increased risk for severe illness.

Fight the Bite!

During mosquito season the City of Galion periodically sprays adulticide, a chemical that kills adult flying mosquitoes. The adulticide can be effective on a short-term basis to reduce mosquito populations. The chemical can have an impact on human health, especially in individuals with underlying health conditions, and on the environment. Decisions as to when and where to spray are based on complaints and are made on a case-by-case basis to prevent a health and environmental impact. The single most important way to protect yourself against being bitten and contracting mosquito borne disease is to prevent mosquito breeding.

Drain water where mosquitoes grow

  • Mosquitoes can grow in containers that hold water for more than a week such as pop cans, buckets, bottles and discarded tires.
  • Containers that fill with water should be emptied at least once a week.
  • Change the water in birdbaths every week.
  • Keep rain gutters clean.
  • Fix outdoor leaking faucets.
  • Clean ditches so water can flow.
  • Fill holes that hold water with gravel or dirt.

Avoid being bitten by mosquitoes

  • Clothing will help protect you from mosquito bites.  When possible, wear long sleeves, long pants and socks in addition to repellent when outdoors.
  • Repel mosquitoes when going outdoors during mosquito season by using repellents that contain an EPA-registered active ingredient such as DEET or picaridin.  Follow the directions on the label.
  • Be aware of peak mosquito hours.  Mosquitoes are most active and biting during the early morning and late evening hours. If outdoors at dawn or dusk, take extra care to use repellent and wear protective clothing.
  • Keep window and door screens closed and in good repair to keep mosquitoes out of your house.
  • Mosquitoes rest in tall weeds. Keep weeds cut short to help deter mosquitoes.
  • Avoiding mosquitoes doesn’t mean kids have to stay inside in front of the TV. Get them outside and playing, but remember – a couple of seconds applying an effective repellent to exposed skin and clothing will help everyone stay healthy.
  • On children, use products that have no more than 10 percent DEET. Follow the directions on the label.

Reporting dead birds

West Nile virus often kills crows and blue jays. Dead crows and blue jays may be a sign that WNV is circulating between birds and mosquitoes in an area. The testing of dead or dying birds is no longer necessary because we know WNV is present in Ohio. Dispose of a dead bird safely by using a shovel or gloved hand to double-bag it and place it in the garbage. Instead of using a shovel or gloved hands you may turn a plastic bag inside out, grasp the bird, and then turn the bag back right side out with the bird inside. Double-bag the bird and place it in the garbage.

While dead birds are no longer being tested for WNV we ask that the community report dead birds to Galion City Health Department. Reports of dead birds are potential indicators of WNV activity. To report a dead bird, call 419-468-1075 x1265.

Information from the Ohio Department of Health Zoonotic Disease Program.

Questions?

Call 419-468-1075 x1265 for more information or educational materials.

Links

CDC Eastern equine encephalitis

CDC La Crosse encephalitis 

CDC St. Louis encephalitis 

CDC West Nile Virus 

Ohio Department of Health Mosquito-Borne Diseases

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