DHEC issues warning about mosquito-related diseases

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Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2012

NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C. -- The South Carolina Department of of Health and Environmental Control is issuing a warning about an increase in mosquito-related diseases even as the weather gets cooler.

"Despite the approaching cooler weather, you still need to protect yourself from mosquito bites," said Chris Evans, Ph.D. and entomologist with DHEC's Bureau of Laboratories, in a news release. "Mosquitoes can be active in the fall, even after extended periods of cold weather. Bites to humans and other animals from infected mosquitoes can transmit diseases such as West Nile virus, La Crosse encephalitis virus, and eastern equine encephalitis virus, which have been found in higher numbers this year.

DHEC said the West Nile virus has been found in 30 people, 24 birds, five horses and nine mosquito samples this year. Fifteen horses and one person have contracted eastern equine encephalitis.

DHEC advises taking the following precautions:
- DEET Apply insect repellent containing DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, or IR 3535 according to label instructions. Repellents help keep mosquitoes from biting. DEET can be used safely on infants and children 2 months of age and older.
- Dress Wear clothing that reduces the risk of skin exposure.
- Dawn and dusk Exposure to mosquitoes is most common during the early morning and evening so it is important to wear repellent at that time. Make sure that your doors and windows have tight-fitting screens to keep out mosquitoes.
- Drain Mosquitoes lay their eggs on standing water, in containers just above the water line, and in moist soil that is subject to flooding. Eliminate all sources of standing water on your property, such as tire ruts, flowerpots, old car tires, rain gutters and pet bowls. If you have an ornamental pond, use mosquito fish (available from some local mosquito control agencies) or commercially available products to eliminate mosquito larvae.

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