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Protect Against Mosquito-borne Illnesses

 

AtlantaSummer in Georgia, and along with it, outdoor adventures, picnics, barbeques, and…mosquitoes! Avoiding mosquito bites protects you and your family from mosquito-borne illness and helps prevent the spread of disease in Georgia.

Mosquito-borne diseases are those spread by the bite of an infected mosquito. Diseases that are spread to people by mosquitoes include eastern equine encephalitis, West Nile virus, Zika virus, chikungunya virus, malaria, and dengue. To date this year, in Georgia, there is one confirmed case of chikungunya, 20 confirmed cases of malaria, and 14 confirmed cases of dengue – all related to travel outside the United States.

This week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned about an increased risk for dengue fever infections in the United States because of the record-breaking number of cases worldwide. Dengue is the most common mosquito-borne infection, but most dengue cases in the U.S. are associated with travel to areas such as the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, the Americas, and other areas with frequent or continuous dengue transmission.

The Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) recommends using EPA-registered insect repellents containing DEET (20%- 30%), Picaridin, IR3535, or Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus.

If you’re using sunscreen, apply it first, followed by insect repellent. Wear light-colored clothing, including loose-fitting long sleeves, pants, and socks, to help protect against mosquito bites.

One of the most effective ways of controlling the mosquito population starts in your yard. After every rainfall or at least once a week, Tip ‘n Toss containers that hold water to eliminate breeding locations for mosquitoes and prevent the spread of illness. Tip out standing water in flowerpots, planters, children’s toys, wading pools, and buckets. If it holds water and you don’t need it (old tires, bottles, cans), toss it out.

Ensure doors and windows fit tightly and are in good repair to keep mosquitoes outside. Mosquitoes bite day and night, so no matter what time you’re outside, remember to use insect repellent to protect against mosquito bites.

For additional information about mosquitoes and the diseases they transmit, visit dph.georgia.gov/mosquito-borne-viral-diseases or www.cdc.gov/mosquitoes/index.html.