Mosquito-Borne Illnesses: Facts, Figures and Prevention
The Keys county medical director discusses mosquito protection.
KEYS TOURISM ADVISORY Jan. 25, 2016 • 10:15 a.m.
News and Information from the Monroe County Tourist Development Council
TDC Updates Mosquito Safety Web Page to Include Zika
Discussion regarding the spread of the Zika virus has escalated during the past few weeks and Sunday the World Health Organization projected the mosquito-borne virus would spread to all of the Americas except Canada and Chile.
Several people on mainland Florida and in other states have been reported as contracting Zika after visiting South America, but thus far there have been no reports of local transmissions in Florida.
The Monroe County Tourist Development Council has updated its mosquito safety-related web page at http://www.fla-keys.com/mosquitoborneillnesses to provide a resource to accurately communicate details regarding Zika and to provide common-sense protection tips.
Included on the page is a short video with comments from Monroe County Medical Director Dr. Mark Whiteside as well as links to the Florida Department of Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Florida Keys Mosquito Control District.
The information has been reviewed by the Florida Department of Health in Monroe County.
Current key talking points include:
- Mosquito-borne illnesses such as dengue, chikungunya and Zika are viral diseases primarily transmitted by the Aedes aegypti mosquito, a freshwater breed common to the southeastern United States, the Bahamas, Caribbean, Central and South America as well as other tropical and subtropical These diseases are not spread person- to-person.
- Dengue fever, chikungunya and Zika viruses are currently not a health threat in the Florida Keys including Key West, according to Keys health
- The most common symptoms of Zika virus disease are fever, rash, joint pain and conjunctivitis (red eyes). The illness is usually mild with symptoms lasting from several days to a Severe disease requiring hospitalization is uncommon. Most at risk, according to health officials, are women who are pregnant or planning to get pregnant, because of the potential for Zika to cause birth defects.
- Health officials are asking the public to be aware of the The Centers for Disease Control has issued an advisory counseling pregnant women to avoid traveling to 22 Zika-affected countries and territories in Central America, South America, Mexico, the Caribbean, Samoa and the Cape Verde Islands. The CDC has not issued any travel advisories for the U.S. including Florida and the Keys.
- Traditionally in Florida, mosquitoes are most active in summer and early fall, and are more dormant in late fall through
- To help avoid being bitten by Aedes aegypti or other mosquito species, health and mosquito control officials advise using mosquito repellents that contain 20 to 30 percent DEET, picaridin or oil of lemon DEET is not recommended for use on children younger than 2 months old. Wearing permethrin-treated long-sleeved shirts and pants, when comfortable to do so, provides additional protection. When inside, close windows and use air conditioning. Or, if windows are open, check screens to ensure there are no holes.
- Eliminate standing water in and around homes/vacation rentals where mosquitoes like to breed, such as coolers, flower pots, buckets or any containers that could retain
More information is available via these links:
- Florida Department of Health in Monroe County: http://www.floridahealth.gov/diseases- and-conditions/mosquito-borne-diseases/prevention.html
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: http://www.cdc.gov/zika/
- Florida Keys Mosquito Control: http://keysmosquito.org
Or contact the Florida Department of Health in Monroe County at 305-809-5653.