Chatham County Mosquito Control has confirmed that samplings of mosquitoes collected in western Chatham County (Pooler area) have tested positive for West Nile virus (WNV). This indicates that WNV is actively circulating in local mosquito populations this year. Mosquito control personnel are surveying all areas of Chatham County and scheduling control operations as required. No human cases of WNV have been confirmed in any Coastal Health District counties, including Chatham.
WNV is transmitted by the bite of infected mosquitoes and can cause mild to serious illness. Mosquitoes that carry the West Nile Virus are more likely to bite during the evening, night, and early morning. The Chatham County Health Department and Chatham County Mosquito Control urge residents to take appropriate precautions now and throughout the summer to minimize mosquitoes around their property.
One of the most effective ways of preventing mosquito breeding and thus the spread of mosquito-borne viruses is controlling the mosquito population by getting rid of standing water around the home and in the yard. Residents are urged to clean up around their homes, yards, and communities and get rid of unnecessary items that can hold water and turn into mosquito breeding grounds. One way to do this is “Tip ‘n Toss.” After every rainfall, tip out water in flowerpots, planters, children’s toys, wading pools, buckets, and anything else that may be holding water. If it holds water and you don’t need it (old tires, bottles, cans), toss it out. It’s also a good idea to change water frequently in outdoor pet dishes, change bird bath water at least twice a week, and avoid using saucers under outdoor potted plants.
For containers without lids or that are too big to Tip ‘n Toss (garden pools, etc.), use larvicides such as Mosquito Dunks© or Mosquito Torpedoes© and follow the label instructions. These larvicides will not hurt birds or animals. In addition, clean out gutters, remove piles of leaves, and keep vegetation cut low to prevent landing sites for adult mosquitoes.
Homeowners associations and neighborhoods, along with city and county governments, are encouraged to sponsor community cleanup days.
Residents are always encouraged to follow the 5Ds of mosquito bite prevention:
- Dusk/Dawn – Avoid dusk and dawn activities during the summer when mosquitoes are most active.
- Dress – Wear loose-fitting, long sleeved shirts and pants to reduce the amount of exposed skin.
- DEET – Cover exposed skin with an insect repellent containing the DEET, which is the most effective repellent against mosquito bites.
- Drain – Empty any containers holding standing water – buckets, barrels, flower pots, tarps – because they are breeding grounds for virus-carrying mosquitoes.
- Doors – Make sure doors and windows are in good repair and fit tightly, and fix torn or damaged screens to keep mosquitoes out of the house.
Chatham County Mosquito Control is actively treating all areas of Chatham County for mosquitoes. Residents should expect to see Mosquito Control’s low flying, yellow helicopters on a regular basis throughout the county.