Florida Department of Health Warns of Malaria Spread Through Mosquitoes
The Florida Department of Health (FDOH) has issued an alert about Malaria spread through mosquitoes, following the confirmation of four malaria cases in Sarasota County. Thankfully, all affected individuals have undergone treatment and have fully recovered. These occurrences mark the first instances of local malaria infections in the United States in the past twenty years. FDOH has credited the transmission of the disease to infected mosquitoes, which prompted health officials to warn residents across the state to take precautionary measures. These precautionary steps include the use of insect repellent, wearing protective clothing like long pants and shirts whenever possible, and avoiding areas with high mosquito populations.
Residents of Volusia County living in the Sugar Forest community are fighting the challenge of protecting themselves from mosquitoes. The presence of a burned, battered, and unoccupied home on Sugar House Boulevard has led to an unusually high number of mosquitoes in the area, leaving locals feeling helpless. Chuck Helman, a community resident, expressed his frustration, stating, "This is ridiculous; you would think that we're living in a pond with all the mosquitoes." Aside from the inconvenience, this rise of mosquitoes poses potential health risks, particularly for individuals like Helman's neighbor, Tobie Caraway, who has a history of cancer. Residents are becoming more and more cautious of possible malaria spread through mosquitoes.
What The Orange County Mosquito Patrol Says About Malaria Spread Through Mosquitoes
Steve Harrison, the manager for Orange County Mosquito Control, highlighted three pivotal factors used to assess the immediate risk of malaria transmission in the county. These factors include the presence of the pathogen, mosquitoes capable of transmitting the disease, and a vulnerable population. In response to any confirmed cases, healthcare professionals are closely monitoring patients who show symptoms of malaria at hospitals or clinics. Once a case is confirmed, the health department notifies mosquito control authorities, who promptly implement targeted control measures in the affected area.
As of now, no cases of malaria have been reported in Central Florida. Nevertheless, the health department advises residents to remain vigilant and adopt the "Drain and Cover" approach. This approach entails draining standing water to prevent mosquito breeding and using screens to cover doors and windows to keep mosquitoes out of living spaces. In addition, FDOH offers additional tips for protection:
- Drain standing water from containers and areas where water pools.
- Maintain swimming pools properly and empty plastic swimming pools when not in use.
- Fix broken screens on windows, doors, porches, and patios to prevent mosquito entry.
- Wear protective clothing like shoes, socks, long pants, and long-sleeved shirts, in high mosquito- areas.
- Use mosquito repellent as per label instructions, using products with DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, para-menthane-diol, 2-undecanone, and IR3535.
- Use mosquito netting to protect infants younger than two months old.
By thoroughly adhering to these precautions, residents can significantly reduce their risk of mosquito bites and possible transmission of malaria. FDOH highlights the vital importance of community awareness and cooperation in preventing mosquito-borne illnesses. Remaining proactive and vigilant will safeguard Florida's population and contribute to creating a safer environment for all.
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