Tag Archives: Zika

World Mosquito Day Isn’t A Day Off For The Pesky Insect

Although World Mosquito Day is just around the corner, don’t expect the pesky insects to take a holiday. They’ll be as active as ever, which means we must continue to be vigilant in avoiding bites.

World Mosquito Day, which is August 20, was established in 1897, when the link between mosquitoes and malaria transmission was discovered by Sir Ronald Ross. The intent was to raise awareness about malaria and how it can be prevented, as well as raise money to help find a cure.

These days, the observance provides the perfect opportunity to remind people about the host of diseases mosquitoes can spread, to include West Nile and Zika. The most common diseases that could potentially be carried by mosquitoes in South Carolina, home to at least 61 different species, include: West NileEastern Equine EncephalitisLa Crosse encephalitis, Saint Louis encephalitis virus, and dog/cat heartworm.

Although August 20 is the mosquito’s day, so to speak, DHEC urges residents to not feed or house the insects. Take precautions to avoid mosquito bites and rid your home and yard of areas where they breed. Follow the following guidance:

Reduce the numbers of adult mosquitoes around your home.

  • Drain, fill or eliminate sites that have standing water.
  • Empty or throw away containers — from bottles and jars to tires and kiddie pools — that have standing water.

Keep mosquitoes outside: Use air conditioning or make sure that you repair and use window/door screens.

Avoid Mosquitoes: Most mosquito species bite during dawn, dusk, twilight hours and night. Some species bite during the day, especially in wooded or other shaded areas. Avoid exposure during these times and in these areas.

Wear insect repellent: When used as directed, insect repellent is the BEST way to protect yourself from mosquito bites—even children and pregnant women should protect themselves. Choose a repellent that contain one of the following:

  • DEET: Products containing DEET include Cutter, OFF!, Skintastic.
  • Picaridin (also known as KBR 3023, Bayrepel, and icaridin): Products containing picaridin include Cutter Advanced, Skin So Soft Bug Guard Plus, and Autan outside the United States).
  • Oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE) or PMD: Repel contains OLE.
  • IR3535: Products containing IR3535 include Skin So Soft Bug Guard Plus Expedition and SkinSmart.
  • More repellent information

Cover up: When weather permits, wear long-sleeved shirts and pants.

So, apply the repellent, empty or get rid of containers in your yard holding water and have a Happy World Mosquito Day.

Click here to learn more about protecting yourself and your home from mosquitoes.

Visit the DHEC website to learn more about mosquitoes and the diseases they can spread.

National Mosquito Control Awareness Week

For When it comes to protecting citizens from mosquitoes and the various illnesses the pesky insects can spread, local governments and residents themselves provide the first line of defense.

This is National Mosquito Control Awareness Week (June 25 – July 1), which is a good time to educate residents about mosquitoes and the diseases they carry and to urge everyone to do their part by protecting themselves and their homes from the potential spread of Zika virus as well as other mosquito-borne illnesses.

Be vigilant about protecting yourself from mosquito bites and ridding your homes and yards of containers where mosquitoes breed.

Learn more

Watch this short video for tips on protecting yourself and your home against mosquitoes:

As you gear up for outside activities, watch out for mosquitoes

As the weather continues to warm up and summer hastens our way, so do the prospects of us spending more and more time participating in outdoor activities — from camping trips to cookouts to sports contests and sporting events.

While outdoor fun is great, don’t forget that mosquito season is fast-approaching as well. Be sure to take precautions to protect yourself against mosquito bites and the mosquito-borne diseases, such as Zika, the insect can spread.

Here are a few tips to help you protect yourself:

  • When you go outside, apply an EPA-recommended mosquito repellent to your skin or wear protective clothing.
  • Wear light colors and avoid wearing scented products outdoors.
  • Be careful when applying insect repellents to children and babies:

Spray repellent onto your hands and then apply to a child’s face.
Do not apply repellent to a child’s hands, mouth, cut or irritated skin.
Do not use Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus on children younger than 3 years old. Do not use repellents containing DEET on babies younger than 2 months old.

  • Keep car windows rolled up and garage doors closed at night.
  • Make sure all screens on windows and doors are intact and installed properly.

Visit the DHEC website for more information on how to protect yourself and your home against mosquitoes.

It’s spring: Protect yourself and your family against mosquitoes

After yet another warm winter in South Carolina, spring is upon us — and so is mosquito season.

As you and your family head outside, remember that now is the time to begin taking action to protect yourself and your loved ones from mosquitoes — even if mosquitoes are the unofficial state bird!

Mosquitoes can spread diseases

South Carolina is home to at least 61 different species of mosquitoes. Anyone who has lived here for any length of time has faced this itch-causing menace on an almost daily basis during the spring, summer and fall. Most of the time, we are only concerned with the pain from the mosquito’s bite, but we also need to be aware that mosquitoes can spread diseases that may result in illness.

Some mosquitoes in South Carolina have been known to carry West Nile virusEastern Equine Encephalitis, and other viruses or parasites. Since the beginning of 2016, there has been heightened concern over the Zika virus. Fortunately, there have been no confirmed local Zika cases caused by South Carolina mosquitoes. All known cases of Zika in our state, to date, have been travel or sexual contact related.

You can help control the mosquito population

It is critical that we all join forces and do our part to combat the threat of mosquito-borne viruses and parasites. We must be vigilant about controlling the mosquito population in our own yards and communities while protecting ourselves from bites. You can begin by removing, regularly emptying or filling in any objects in your yard or home that might hold water in order to eliminate breeding sites. When searching for mosquito breeding spots on your property, leave no stone unturned.

To help reduce mosquito populations on your property:

  • Clear out weeds, leaves, dirt and other debris from pipes.
  • Repair leaky pipes and outdoor faucets.
  • Regularly clean out rain gutters and downspouts.cleaning-gutters
  • Empty and turn over containers that hold water, such as cans, jars, drums, bottles, flower pots, buckets, children’s toys, wheelbarrows, old appliances, tarps used to cover grills or swimming pools, etc. Don’t forget to scrub containers to remove any mosquito eggs that remain attached to the walls (Tip, Toss, Turn and Scrub!).
  • Make sure that all permanent water containers — such as wells, septic tanks, cisterns, water tanks and cesspools — are tightly covered and insect-proof.
  • Change the water in bird baths and empty and clean out children’s wading pools at least once a week.
  • Clean out and change the water in your pet’s water bowl or trough every day.
  • Clean out larger livestock troughs weekly.
  • Cover trash containers and garbage cans to keep rainwater from accumulating.
  • Drain or get rid of old tires by recycling them.

When outside, wear long pants and long-sleeved shirts (the lighter in color, the better). You may also choose to apply a mosquito repellent — either a spray or wipe — per manufacturer instructions to help shield you. Avoid wearing perfume or scented products. Also, keep car windows rolled up and garage doors closed at night. Ensure all of your windows and doors have intact screens and seal properly.

Learn more

Visit DHEC’s mosquito information page for additional information about protecting yourself from mosquito bites, eliminating breeding areas, local mosquito control and more.

DHEC encourages South Carolinians to take precautions against Zika at home and abroad

As springtime approaches, the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) is urging residents to take precautions now at home or while traveling to prevent mosquito-borne illnesses like Zika.

Many South Carolinians are preparing for trips abroad, whether it be for spring break, mission trips or just vacations. Many of those destinations are warmer locations where mosquito populations are known to transmit Zika and other diseases. DHEC encourages all those travelers to do their part to prevent mosquito bites.

Take care when traveling to an area with active transmission

“When traveling to any country with active Zika transmission, travelers should proactively take steps to prevent mosquito bites, such as using insect repellent, wearing long sleeves and pants, and staying in places with air conditioning or that use window and door screens,” said Linda Bell, M.D. and state epidemiologist. “Zika is actively spreading in several areas of the world, including countries and territories in the Caribbean, Central America, South America, the Pacific Islands and Cape Verde.”

Individuals planning to travel should consult a travel clinic or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website to see if they are traveling to an area with active Zika transmission. A complete list of countries and locations with active transmission can be found here: cdc.gov/zika/geo/index.html.

There have been 61 travel-related cases of Zika virus reported in South Carolina since April 2016. However, there have been no cases caused by mosquitoes in the state. “To help ensure this remains the case, it is very important for travelers to take these necessary precautions,” continued Dr. Bell.

Take precautions on the home front too

With temperatures rising in South Carolina, action on the home front is also needed to help fight mosquitoes. Eliminating breeding grounds is the No. 1 way to reduce mosquito populations, and all individuals can do their part by simply tipping and tossing any container with standing water.

“Mosquitoes have the ability to spread illnesses other than Zika, such as West Nile virus, chikungunya, dengue and eastern equine encephalitis,” said Dr. Bell.

Most people infected with the Zika virus do not have any symptoms. When symptoms are present, the most common are fever, rash, joint pain and conjunctivitis (red eyes). Oftentimes, symptoms of Zika infection can be mild, yet last as long as one week. Zika virus can be passed from a pregnant woman to her fetus, and infection during pregnancy can cause serious birth defect of the brain called microcephaly and other severe birth defects. The virus can also be passed through sex. The CDC recommends that all women who are pregnant should not travel to areas abroad where Zika virus transmission is ongoing.

Learn more about prevention

For more information on steps that individuals can take to prevent mosquito bites and eliminate mosquito breeding grounds around their homes, visit www.scdhec.gov/mosquitoes. For more information on the Zika virus, visit www.scdhec.gov/zika.