To the Editor:
As the numbers of West Nile Virus cases in Oklahoma continue to climb, the Oklahoma City-County Health Department advises residents to take extra precautions against the mosquito-borne illness by avoiding mosquito bites and reducing habitat where mosquitoes live and breed.
To reduce mosquito habitat:
· Prevent items such as buckets, cans, pool covers, flower pots and tires from holding standing water
· Empty and refill birdbaths and your pet’s outdoor water bowl daily.
Swimming pools and fishponds with circulating water generally are not a problem.
For standing water sources that can’t be drained, OCCHD recommends microbial larvicides that kill mosquito larvae. Microbial larvicides are non-toxic to humans and do not pose risks to wildlife or the environment when used according to label directions, and can be purchased from hardware or home improvement stores. In addition, be sure to protect your home from mosquitos by keeping screens in good repair. And, always remember the four Ds:
Dusk to dawn – Mosquitoes that carry WNV are most active during these hours, so if you must go outside always take precautions.
Dress – Wear long sleeves with cuffs and long pants wherever mosquitoes are likely to be biting. Tuck your pants into your socks.
DEET – Use an insect repellant containing DEET on any exposed skin.
Drainage – Check regularly around your home for any water accumulation that could provide mosquito breeding grounds. For pools, hot tubs or water features, OCCHD recommends that residents “cover, drain or maintain” these water sources to eliminate mosquito habitat.
Residents of Oklahoma City and Oklahoma County may also report sources of stagnant water outside their own property at www.occhd.org/community/foodprotection/complaintform or call the OCCHD Consumer Protection division at 405-425-4347, 405425-4348, or 405-425-4319.