West Nile Virus Case in Charlotte County; Suncoast Health Departments advise residents what to do next

Population explodes: Someone didn't tell mosquitoes that we're nearing end of mosquito...
Population explodes: Someone didn't tell mosquitoes that we're nearing end of mosquito season
Updated: Oct. 13, 2020 at 6:21 PM EDT
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SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) -There is an increase in mosquito-borne disease activity in areas of Charlotte County, reported by The Florida Department of Health. A human case of West Nile illness has been confirmed and there’s concern more residents will become ill.

The risk of transmission to humans has increased as a chicken has tested positive for the West Nile virus infection. Charlotte County Mosquito Control and the DOH-Charlotte continue surveillance and prevention efforts.

DOH-Charlotte reminds residents and visitors to be conscious and avoid being bitten by mosquitos by taking basic precautions to help limit exposure.

To protect yourself from mosquitos always remember to “Drain and Cover”, click here to learn more.

“We can’t be sure that there’s no other mosquitos in Sarasota County that have the West Nile Virus, today even. It’s just in July, August and September, those are our peak activity months where that natural cycle can bridge over to humans,” explained Wade Brennan, a biologist with Sarasota County’s Mosquito Control District.

During this time of year, biologists and health experts are trying to keep the mosquito population low to bring down the threat of spreading it to humans.

“One of our biggest tools is surveillance. We do a lot of disease surveillance in Sarasota county, and we also do population surveillance,” Brennan said.

This helps officials gauge how many mosquitos in our community are actually carrying illnesses – and which ones can spread it to humans.

However, this new reported case in charlotte county means that even more precautions need to be done to protect ourselves now.

“It can cause severe illness in certain individuals, so it’s definitely something that has public health significance and importance, and it’s something we want to keep an eye on,” Michael Drennon, the Disease Intervention Services Program Manager for the Sarasota County Health Department, said.

Even those with mild symptoms can experience anything from high fever to headaches to joint pain and being lethargic. This specific mosquito-borne virus is one that can go undetected, so health experts are warning that everyone wear protective clothing, as well as use bug spray when outdoors.

“One of the biggest things is getting rid of containers and standing water. It’s really hard, especially in the summer time, we’re getting constant rains,” Brennan explained.

After draining any water-filled areas, if you’re still experiencing issues in your yard with mosquitos, call the county for help.

“We also share that information with Wade and his team so that they can follow up within the community to do more targeted testing to look for more areas and mosquitos that may be an issue,” said Drennon.

COVID-19 is not a mosquito-borne virus. The coronavirus is not spread by mosquitos, but instead by human to human contact.

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