The Florida Department of Health has released a statewide mosquito-borne illness advisory due to four confirmed cases of malaria in Sarasota County.
All individuals have been treated and have recovered, the health department said in a release.
In Florida, infected Anopheles mosquitoes can transmit the disease. The department advised Floridians to avoid areas with lots of mosquitos, wear long pants and shirts, especially during sunrise and sunset when this species of mosquito is most active, and apply bug spray.
People in the Sarasota area who are experiencing symptoms such as fever, chills, sweats, nausea/vomiting, and headache should seek medical attention.
There are also steps to take at home. The state suggests the following:
- Drain standing water to stop mosquitoes from multiplying.
- Drain water from garbage cans, house gutters, buckets, pool covers, coolers, toys, flowerpots, or any other containers where sprinkler or rainwater has collected.
- Discard old tires, drums, bottles, cans, pots and pans, broken appliances and other items that aren’t being used.
- Empty and clean birdbaths and pet’s water bowls at least once or twice a week
Protect boats and vehicles from rain with tarps that don’t accumulate water.
- Maintain swimming pools and keep appropriately chlorinated. Empty plastic swimming pools when not in use.
- Cover doors and windows with screens to keep mosquitoes out of your house.
Repair broken screening on windows, doors, porches, and patios.
The state also has advice on clothing and insect repellant:
- Wear shoes, socks, and long pants and long-sleeves. This type of protection may be necessary for people who must work in areas where mosquitoes are present.
- Always use mosquito repellents according to the label. Repellents with DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, para-menthane-diol, 2-undecanone, and IR3535 are effective.
- Use mosquito netting to protect children younger than 2 months old.]
- Always read label directions carefully for the approved usage before you apply a repellent.
- Apply insect repellent to exposed skin or clothing, but not under clothing.
- Treat clothing and gear with products containing 0.5% permethrin. Do not apply permethrin directly to skin.
- Some repellents are not suitable for children. Ensure repellent is safe for children and age-appropriate.
- Mosquito repellents containing lemon eucalyptus oil or para-menthane-diol should not be used on children under the age of three years.
- DEET is not recommended on children younger than two months old.
- Avoid applying repellents to the hands of children.
- Parents should apply repellent to their hands first and then transfer it to the child’s skin and clothing.