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Mosquito coast


Published:   |   Updated: June 18, 2014 at 11:29 AM

The Suncoast’s traditional late spring-early summer dry season failed to materialize this year. That means the ground is not as arid as it can get this time of the year. So there soon could be plenty of standing stormwater all over the Suncoast now that the summer thunderstorm pattern is developing. That means there are even more places than usual for mosquitoes to breed. As a result, mosquito control officials are taking actions to curb the area’s population of the flying pests and warning about the dangers their bites pose.

The Pasco County Mosquito Control District says it has an aerial spraying campaign in the air and on the ground. In the meantime, district personnel are keeping an eye on six sentinel chicken flocks for signs of mosquito-borne viral disease such as various forms of encephalitis, including Eastern equine and West Nile.

Pinellas County Mosquito Control is making a point of urging residents to do what they can to protect themselves from yet another mosquito-borne illness, chikungunya. Traditionally, chikungunya has mainly been a problem in sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia and Southeast Asia. Increasingly, however, the disease has been on the move and has made the jump to this country. According to the Florida Department of Health, for example, there have been 18 confirmed cases of chikungunya, the main symptoms of which are persistent high fever and what can be severe joint pain.

In addition to not letting water stand on their property, area residents can do the most to avoid mosquito-borne diseases by limiting time outside around dusk and wearing repellent when they are outside.

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