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Tick/Mosquito-Borne Viruses

Florida Department of Health in Santa Rosa County

Arboviruses 

Arboviruses are a class of viruses spread to humans by arthropods such as mosquitoes and ticks. Some of the arboviruses that are transmitted by mosquitoes in Santa Rosa County include West Nile Virus (WNV), Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE), and Saint Louis Encephalitis (SLE). Tick-borne arboviruses that are transmitted in our county include Lyme Disease and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. Symptoms can vary from none to severe or even life threatening.

Common symptoms of arbovirus illness include: 

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Tiredness
  • Dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Rash
  • Muscle weakness

Prevention 

To prevent mosquito-borne diseases, practice "DRAIN and COVER"

DRAIN standing water to stop mosquitoes from multiplying.

  • DISCARD: Old tires, drums, bottles, cans, pots, and pans, broken appliances and other items that are not being used.
  • EMPTY and CLEAN: Birdbaths and pets' water bowls at least once or twice a week.
  • PROTECT: Boats and vehicles from rain with tarps that do not accumulate water.
  • MAINTAIN: The water balance (pool chemistry) of swimming pools. Empty plastic swimming pools when not in use.

COVER your skin with clothing and use mosquito repellent.

  • CLOTHING: If you must be outside when mosquitoes are active (especially at dusk and dawn), cover up. Wear shoes, socks, long pants, and long sleeves.
  • REPELLENT: Apply mosquito repellent to bare skin and clothing.  Always use repellents according to the label.  Repellents with DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon, and IR3535 are effective. Use mosquito netting to protect children younger than two months.

COVER doors and windows with screens to keep mosquitoes out.

Tick Bite Prevention 

Ticks are commonly found on the tips of grasses and shrubs and climb aboard humans as they walk by. Follow these steps to help prevent tick bites. 

  • Wear long-sleeved shirts, pants, boots or sturdy shoes, and a head covering. Ticks will be more visible if clothing is light-colored.
  • Apply insect repellent that contains DEET (10-30%), picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, para-menthane-diol, 2-undecanone or IR3535.
  • Treat clothing and gear with products containing 0.5%. Do not apply permethrin directly to skin. Some sports clothing and gear come pretreated with permethrin.
  • Walk in the center of trails so grass, shrubs, and weeds do not brush against you.
  • Check for and remove ticks from your clothing, body, hair, and pets when you have been outside.
  • Washing clothing in hot water or tumbling dry clothing in the dryer for at least 10 minutes set at high heat will kill ticks.
  • Shower soon after being in tick habitat.
  • If a tick is found on the skin it is important to safely remove the tick as soon as possible.
  • Talk to your veterinarian about tick prevention products for your pets.
  • Keep grass, shrubs and trees close to your residence trimmed. 

Visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website for more information on preventing tick bites.

Tips on Using Repellant 

  • For both mosquitoes and ticks, use insect repellent approved by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on exposed skin and clothing. EPA’s helpful search tool can help you find the product that best suits your needs. 
  • Follow instructions on the product label, especially if you’re applying it to children.
  • Apply insect repellent to exposed skin, or onto clothing, but not under clothing.
  • Always follow instructions when applying insect repellent to children and do not use repellents with DEET on babies younger than 2 months or oil of lemon eucalyptus on children under 3 years old.
  • Avoid applying repellents to the hands of children. Adults should apply repellent first to their own hands and then transfer it to the child’s skin and clothing. 

    Visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website for more information on the safe use of repellant.

Links 

Learn more about mosquito-borne illness.

Learn more about tick-borne disease.

For more information on insect repellents, visit the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) website.

Download these infographics for more information: Mosquitoes - Keep Them Outside and Stop Them from Breeding and Protect Your Home From Mosquitoes.

Download the Mosquito Bite Protection in Florida infographic.

For more information on mosquito-borne illnesses and how to help prevent them, visit these websites:

National Center for Infectious Diseases

Florida Department of Health

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