For Immediate Release: June 27, 2008
Help Beat the Bite—Join the Mosquito Fight!
Alexandria Health Department Promotes Mosquito Control Awareness
Mosquitoes can be more than just a backyard nuisance. Some may carry West Nile Virus, a potentially serious illness spread by the bite of an infected mosquito. Most mosquitoes do not pose a threat to public health because they are not infected with viruses or other pathogens. Less than one percent of people bitten by a mosquito carrying West Nile virus will become ill. People most at risk for developing symptoms of the disease are those over age 50 and those with already compromised immune systems. All residents, however, should continue to take measures to protect themselves from mosquito bites.
The Health Department encourages residents to be proactive in their efforts to eliminate areas of standing water and protect themselves against mosquito bites. The recent thunderstorms have created a number of standing water habitats that are prime areas for mosquito breeding. Some common measures for eliminating mosquito breeding areas on your property and protecting yourself against mosquito bites are listed below.
Eliminating Mosquito Breeding Areas
- Empty birdbaths and other water-holding containers, such as trays under flower pots, at least once a week.
- Properly dispose of used tires.
- Clean roof gutters and downspouts. Check corrugated black drainpipes for any water collection.
- Turn over wading pools, wheelbarrows, canoes, pails, trash can lids, children’s toys, and any other object that can hold water, including items stored under decks and porches.
- Repair dripping outdoor water faucets.
- Drain water from tarps and grill covers.
Avoiding Mosquito Bites
- Avoid outdoor activities at dawn and dusk in mosquito-infested areas such as marshes and wetlands.
- Use insect repellants, such as DEET (N,N-diethyl-m-toluamide), Picardin (KBR 3023), or Oil of Lemon eucalyptus (p-menthane 3,8-diol - PMD), as per label directions.
- Wear loose, long and light-colored clothing when outdoors.
- Check window and door screens for holes and repair, if necessary, using fine-mesh screen.
To learn more about how to eliminate mosquito breeding sites around homes, or for additional information on mosquito control and prevention, visit www.alexandriava.gov/mosquitocontrol or call Holly Feltner or Tim McGonegal of the Alexandria Health Department’s Vector-Borne Illness Prevention Program at (703) 838-4400, ext. 326 or 327.