Spring is in full swing and that means the Fort Wayne-Allen County Department of Health has begun its annual mosquito control program. For humans and domestic animals, mosquitos are a nuisance as well as a serious health hazard. Mosquitoes are capable of transmitting various diseases, including West Nile virus (WNv), LaCrosse Encephalitis (LAC), St. Louis Encephalitis (SLE) and Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE). Most people who become ill from these diseases will have mild symptoms such as headache, fever, dizziness and fatigue, but severe neurological symptoms, coma and even death may occur. If you are bitten by a mosquito and experience any of the symptoms described above, you should contact a health care provider.
The Department of Health¹s mosquito control program involves treating and eliminating potential breeding sites and placing traps to collect and test mosquitoes for disease.
Residents can do their part to control mosquito breeding by emptying flower pots and other containers, replacing water in birdbaths, cleaning out clogged gutters and eliminating other sources of standing water on their property.
Another way to prevent mosquitoes from breeding is by cleaning out swimming pools or putting a tight cover on them. Residents should also check the lids of trash and recycling containers. Ensure the lid tightly fits the container.
The Department of Health also recommends residents wear pants and long-sleeve shirts and use insect repellent on clothes and exposed skin when spending time outside.
Mosquitofish will be available to the public for placement in ornamental ponds and water gardens beginning in early June. Please contact Vector Control at 449-7459 before picking up the fish.
Right now is also prime tick season. Those working in the yard or near a wooded area or hiking should use repellants. They¹re also encouraged to put their pant legs into their socks so ticks can¹t crawl up their legs. Residents living near a wooded area should create a three foot-wide barrier of stone or mulch between their yard and the wooded area.