Hot, wet weather means more mosquitoes, and with more mosquitoes comes an increased risk of West Nile Virus. Harris County is home to 56 species of mosquitoes. While most are merely pests, the Culex mosquito is the predominant species in Harris County that carries West Nile Virus.
Harris County Public Health & Environmental Services encourages people to eliminate mosquito breeding habitats from their property and to take appropriate precautions to avoid being bitten by disease-carrying mosquitoes.
Mosquito-Proof Your Property
• Don’t “feed” the storm drains. Sweep up lawn clippings, leaves and tree limbs.
• Remove or empty any containers such as flowerpots and toys, that can hold water. Change water in birdbaths at least once a week.
• Keep rain gutters free of debris.
• Make sure screens are in good condition.
• If possible, wear long pants and long-sleeved shirts when outdoors, particularly at dawn and dusk.
• When outdoors, use an insect repellent containing DEET, Picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus or IR3535 and apply as directed on the label.
Most people who are infected with West Nile virus show no, or only mild, symptoms such as low-grade fever and headache. More severe symptoms can include high fever, stiff neck, disorientation, encephalitis, and, rarely, death. If you think you have been infected with the West Nile Virus, contact your family physician. Household pets can also be exposed to West Nile Virus. Contact your veterinarian for more information.
Enjoy the outdoors, but remember to protect yourself and your family from mosquito-borne disease.
For more information, visit http://www.hcphes.org/ or http://www.cdc.gov/.