Charlotte County urges vigilance against Zika virus threat
With two cases of the mosquito-borne Zika virus reported this week in Southwest Florida and a public health emergency declared in four counties, Charlotte County urges residents to take precautions to reduce breeding grounds for mosquitoes and protect themselves from being bitten.
There have been no reported cases of the Zika virus in Charlotte County to date, but two were reported earlier this week in Lee County and seven in three other counties. The virus causes flu-like symptoms, such as red eyes, rash, fever, malaise and joint and muscle pain, which can last from seven to 10 days. A large majority of people infected, however, show no symptoms, but can be hosts for the virus.
Charlotte County Mosquito Control maintains an active surveillance program and is developing a community program to combat the mosquitos that may carry the Zika virus. Mosquito Control operates both ground and air spraying missions to reduce the number of mosquitos in Charlotte County and is testing hand-held units in some areas.
Residents can help by eliminating areas where mosquitos breed and develop. Mosquitos thrive in wet conditions such as containers, tires, watering pots, flower pots, kiddie pools, stagnant bird baths and trash that can hold water. Residents are advised to remove containers holding standing or stagnant water from their property or empty them frequently.
A Florida Department of Health instructional video on the subject can be viewed online at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AE6tkoWanXk. A video can be viewed on CC-TV’s YouTube page at https://youtu.be/dWDgb7M4YFU. Additional information is available on the Charlotte County Health Department website at http://charlotte.floridahealth.gov or by calling 941.624.7200.
If you are going to an area where and when mosquitos are likely to be prevalent, protect yourself by wearing light-colored clothing, long pants, long sleeves and socks. Use an insect repellent with the following active ingredients: DEET, Picaridin and oil of lemon or eucalyptus. Always follow product directions and reapply as directed.