Due to the recent abundance of rain, Cobb & Douglas Public Health is urging residents to protect themselves against mosquitoes.

Residents can reduce the number of mosquitoes around their homes by emptying standing water from manmade containers, such as buckets, bird baths and ceramic pots.  When this water remains stagnant for several days, it can serve as a prime breeding ground for mosquitoes.

“Since mosquitoes are capable of transmitting diseases such as the West Nile Virus (WNV), encephalitis, yellow fever, dengue, and malaria, it is extremely important to eliminate their breeding areas and take measures to protect yourself from their bites.” said Chris Hutcheson, Director, Center of Environmental Health, Cobb & Douglas Public Health.  “The best way to do this is to observe the Five D’s of WNV Prevention.”

    1. Dusk/Dawn – Mosquitoes carrying WNV usually bite at dusk and dawn, so avoid or limit outdoor activity at these times.
    2. Dress – Wear loose-fitting, long sleeved shirts and pants to reduce the amount of exposed skin.
    3. DEET – Cover exposed skin with an insect repellent containing the DEET, which is the most effective repellent against mosquito bites.
    4. Drain – Empty any containers holding standing water because they can be excellent breeding grounds for virus-carrying mosquitoes.
    5. 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.

While many people who are infected with WNV do not have symptoms, others may experience mild or flu-like symptoms such as headache, fever, nausea, vomiting, swollen lymph glands, and rash. Serious complications may occur in extremely rare cases.

A small number of people infected may develop serious illnesses, such as meningitis (swelling of the membrane surrounding the spinal cord) or encephalitis (swelling of the brain). The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) maintains that 80 percent of those bitten by an infected mosquito do not exhibit signs or symptoms of the disease. However, people over the age of 50 are at greater risk for complications from the disease.

Since mosquito control can be difficult due to vacant and unmaintained properties, the Cobb & Douglas Public Health, Center for Environmental Health is available to assist in abating these problems.  If area residents are aware of such properties, they can contact our Cobb County office at 770-435-7815 or our Douglas County Office at 770-920-7311.

By working together, we can all make a positive impact by reducing the mosquito population in Cobb and Douglas County.