MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. – The Florida Department of Health in Miami-Dade County is under a mosquito-borne illness alert after two more residents contracted the West Nile virus, health officials confirmed Monday.
A total of 24 Miami-Dade residents have contracted the virus this year.
According to health officials, most people who contract the virus do not show any symptoms. About one in five people who are infected develop a fever and other symptoms, such as headache, pain and fatigue.
Most recover within about a week and less than one percent develop serious symptoms, some of which turn fatal.
Health officials say those over the age of 60 and those with weakened immune systems are at an increased risk of developing severe symptoms.
According to the FDOH, the West Nile virus is the leading cause of mosquito-borne disease in the continental U.S.
Below is a list of precautions Florida health officials advise residents to take:
· Drain standing water to stop mosquitoes from multiplying.
· Drain water from garbage cans, house gutters, buckets, pool covers, coolers, toys, flower pots or any other containers where sprinkler or rain water has collected.
· Discard old tires, drums, bottles, cans, pots and pans, broken appliances and other items that aren't being used.
· Empty and clean birdbaths and pet’s water bowls at least once or twice a week.
· Protect boats and vehicles from rain with tarps that don’t accumulate water.
· Maintain swimming pools in good condition and appropriately chlorinated. Empty plastic swimming pools when not in use.
· Cover skin with clothing or repellent.
· Clothing - Wear shoes, socks and long pants and long-sleeves. This type of protection may be necessary for people who must work in areas where mosquitoes are present.
· Repellent - Apply mosquito repellent to bare skin and clothing.
· Always use repellents according to the label. Repellents with DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, para-menthane-diol, and IR3535 are effective.
· Use mosquito netting to protect children younger than 2 months old.
Health officials also advise the public to cover doors and windows with screens to keep mosquitoes out of the home.
Click here for more information about mosquito-borne diseases.