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Californians urged to remove standing water to reduce mosquitoes

15 Mai 2017

Residents can also make a difference by removing any hazards that could become a reservoir for standing water, such as old tires, upturned wheelbarrows, and unused flower pots.

Microcephaly, a birth defect in which a baby is born with a smaller than expected head, has been linked to the mosquito-borne Zika virus that has recently spread to the Pacific Islands and through parts of the Americas. To help keep their numbers down, public health officials advise Californians to frequently check for, and eliminate, water-filled containers, clean and scrub bird baths and pet watering dishes, and dump water from dishes under potted plants. Residents are also urged to report unusual numbers of mosquitoes or day-biting mosquitoes to the local vector control agency.

With mosquito activity increasing, Californians should also protect themselves from mosquito bites at home and while traveling to areas where the Zika virus is present. To prevent bites, consistently use mosquito repellent when outside, wear long sleeves and trousers, use air conditioning, and make sure window screens will keep mosquitoes out of the home.

The researchers added that while the mosquito might be capable of transmitting the virus, it doesn't necessarily mean an outbreak of Zika in northern latitudes is close at hand or even likely. Zika symptoms include fever, rash, joint pain and red eyes.

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All individuals, particularly women of childbearing age, should take steps to protect themselves against mosquito bites while traveling and when they return home.

"Although local transmission of Zika virus has not yet been reported in Australia, the risk of that happening is real". "Each year, we have to prepare and assume that mosquitoes are carrying the West Nile virus". WNV can cause a deadly infection in humans, and the elderly are particularly susceptible.

Background information can be found on the health unit's West Nile virus webpage.

Californians urged to remove standing water to reduce mosquitoes