Residents cleaning up after Isaac urged to take precautions against mosquitos and West Nile

Pearl – Many residents cleaning up from Hurricane Isaac may find themselves spending more time outdoors than usual. The Mississippi State Department of Health recommends taking precautions to avoid exposure to mosquitos and West Nile Virus.

Four deaths and almost 160 human cases of West Nile Virus have been reported in Mississippi this year and the numbers could continue to climb.

Here are some tips on how to protect yourself and your family this year:

  • Avoid places and times when mosquitoes bite. Evenings and mornings have the most mosquito activity.
  • Wear shoes, socks, long pants, and a long-sleeved shirt when outdoors for long periods of time, or when mosquitoes are most active. Clothing should be light colored and made of tightly woven materials to keep mosquitoes away from the skin. Pants legs should be tucked into shoes or socks, and collars should be buttoned.
  • Use mosquito netting when sleeping outdoors or in an unscreened structure.
  • Use an insect repellent such as DEET (N,N-diethyl-m-toluamide), or other EPA-registered ingredients.

Taking protective action around your home can help control the local mosquito population. Reduce the amount of standing water where mosquitos are likely to breed:

  • Repair failed septic systems.
  • Keep grass cut short and shrubbery trimmed.
  • Dispose of old tires, cans, plastic containers, ceramic pots, or other unused containers that can hold water.
  • Change the water at least once per week in birdbaths, wading pools and other water containers on your property.
  • Cover trash containers to keep out rainwater.
  • Clean clogged roof gutters, particularly if leaves tend to plug up the drains
  • Repair leaky water pipes and outside faucets.
  • Aerate ornamental pools or stock them with predatory fish.
  • Clean and chlorinate swimming pools even if they are not being used.
  • Keep drains, ditches, and culverts free of grass clippings, weeds, and trash so water will drain properly.

Mosquitos are most active in the early morning and early evening. You should try to avoid working outdoors at these times.

For more information and tips on how to protect yourself and your family from West Nile Virus please visit the Mississippi State Department of Health’s website at www.msdh.state.ms.us.

For preparedness information, visit www.msema.org. Like MEMA on Facebook and follow Twitter updates using the handle @MSEMA

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