FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) -- Spring is in full swing and that means the Fort Wayne-Allen County Department of Health has begun its annual mosquito control program.
The Department of Health’s mosquito control program involves treating and eliminating potential breeding sites and placing traps to collect and test mosquitoes for disease.
Unlike in years past, the department will no longer routinely spray for adult mosquitoes as a result of finding West Nile virus. The department will instead focus its efforts on primary prevention measures, such as public education, source reduction and larviciding, while conserving its chemical resources to use against St. Louis Encephalitis and Eastern Equine Encephalitis.
Residents can do their part by emptying flower pots and other containers, replacing water in birdbaths, cleaning out clogged gutters and eliminating other sources of standing water on their property.
Making sure trash and recycling containers left outdoors are covered tightly with a lid is another way to prevent mosquitoes from breeding.
The Department of Health also recommends residents wear pants and long-sleeve shirts and use insect repellent on clothes and exposed skin when spending time outside.
To humans and domestic animals, mosquitoes are a nuisance as well as a serious health hazard. Mosquitoes are capable of transmitting a variety of diseases, including West Nile virus (WNv), LaCrosse Encephalitis (LAC), St. Louis Encephalitis (SLE) and Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE).
Most people who become ill from these diseases will have mild symptoms such as headache, fever, dizziness and fatigue, but severe neurological symptoms, coma and even death can occur. If you are bitten by mosquito and experience any of the symptoms described above, you should contact a health care provider.
Mosquito prevention measures
- Check your property for breeding sites. Eliminate any sources of standing water. Clean out gutters and birdbaths. Properly dispose of tires. Maintain swimming pools and hot tubs. Make sure septic tanks, rain barrels and garbage cans are tightly covered.
- Limit time spent outdoors during peak mosquito biting times.
- Wear loose, light-colored, long sleeves and pants.
- Apply an insect repellent that contains DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, or IR3535 to clothing and exposed skin.