Miami-Dade and Broward County officials Tuesday were warning residents to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes to prevent the spread of illness in the wake of Isaac.
Standing water left behind by Isaac could cause mosquitoes to multiply, officials said.
The mosquitoes could carry diseases such as the West Nile virus, St. Louis encephalitis, Eastern equine encephalitis and dengue fever, officials said.
So far, there have been no reported cases of West Nile in Miami-Dade. While the disease can be very severe, in most cases it is not, said Dr. Alvaro Mejia-Echeverry, an epidemiologist with the Miami-Dade County Health Department.
“At this point, we’re getting ready to deploy our general surveillance system we have in place. We’re ready to start taking counts and deploy our light traps," said Chalmers Vasquez, Miami-Dade's mosquito control operations manager.
While Tropical Storm Isaac is gone and South Florida is beginning to see blue skies, the region is not out of the water just yet. The standing water left by the storm makes for perfect conditions for mosquitoes to breed.
“As hot as it is now, it’s going to take about a week so we’re looking at next week to start controlling these mosquitoes," Vasquez said.
According to the Associated Press, four more cases of the West Nile virus were confirmed in Jacksonville, bringing the total In Duval County to 15 reported cases.
Across the country, people have been infected by the virus in 47 states, causing 41 deaths, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“We encourage the public to take precautions and to include the drain and cover measures in their levels of protection against mosquito-borne illnesses,” said Paula Thaqi, director of the Broward County Health Department.
According to a release, residents should follow these recommendations:
- Drain water from garbage cans, house gutters, buckets, pool covers, coolers, toys, flowerpot and other containers with accumulated water.
- Discard broken and unused items.
- Protect boats and vehicles with tarps to prevent them from accumulating water.
- Empty and clean birdbaths or pet's water bowls one to two times a week.
- Maintain swimming pools in good condition and chlorinated, keep plastic swimming pools empty when not in use.
- Cover your body with shoes, socks, long pants and long sleeves especially if you work in an area prone with mosquitoes.
- Apply repellent to skin and clothing.
- Use mosquito netting to protect young children.
- Cover broken window screens and screens on porches and patios.
For more information, visit www.dadehealth.org.