Alert issued as West Nile virus continues to spread in Leon County, risk of infection heightened

West Nile Virus.png
Posted at 10:18 AM, Nov 20, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-20 05:20:18-05

LEON COUNTY, Fla. (WTXL) - The Florida Department of Health in Leon County has issued an alert after three additional cases of West Nile virus were confirmed in the county.

On Nov. 2, DOH-Leon issued a mosquito-borne illness “advisory” following the first confirmed case of West Nile Virus in a human in the county.

With three additional cases of West Nile virus confirmed in the county since then, a total of four West Nile virus cases have been confirmed in the county so far.

The department says protocol dictates that a mosquito-borne illness “alert” be issued due to heightened concern more people will become ill. The alert, which runs 60 days, is scheduled to expire in mid-January.

DOH-Leon and Leon County Mosquito Control say they will continue surveillance and prevention efforts.

The public is strongly encouraged to remain diligent in personal mosquito protection efforts by remembering to “Drain and Cover”:

DRAIN standing water to stop mosquitoes from multiplying.

  • Drain water from garbage cans, house gutters, buckets, pool covers, coolers, toys, flower pots or any other containers where sprinkler or rain water 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 in good condition and appropriately chlorinated. Empty plastic swimming pools when not in use.

COVER skin with clothing or repellent.

  • Clothing - 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.
  • Repellent - Apply mosquito repellent to bare skin and clothing.
    • Always use repellents according to the label. Repellents with DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, para-menthane-diol and IR3535 are effective.
    • Use mosquito netting to protect children younger than 2 months old.
    • Additional tips on repellent use appear below.

COVER doors and windows with screens to keep mosquitoes out of your house.

  • Repair broken screening on windows, doors, porches and patios.

Tips on Repellent Use

  • Always read label directions carefully for the approved usage before you apply a repellent. Some repellents are not suitable for children.
  • Products with concentrations of up to 30 percent DEET (N, N-diethyl-m-toluamide) are generally recommended. Other U.S. Environmental Protection Agency-approved repellents contain picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, para-menthane-diol or IR3535. These products are generally available at local pharmacies. Look for active ingredients to be listed on the product label.
  • Apply insect repellent to exposed skin or onto clothing, but not under clothing.
  • In protecting children, read label instructions to be sure the repellent is age-appropriate. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), mosquito repellents containing oil of lemon eucalyptus should not be used on children under the age of 3 years. DEET is not recommended on children younger than 2 months 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.
  • If additional protection is necessary, apply a permethrin repellent directly to your clothing. Again, always follow the manufacturer’s directions.

For more information on what repellent is right for you, consider using the Environmental Protection Agency’s search tool to help you choose skin-applied repellent products:

The Department continues to conduct statewide surveillance for mosquito-borne illnesses, including West Nile virus infections, Eastern equine encephalitis, St. Louis encephalitis, malaria, chikungunya and dengue.

Residents of Florida are encouraged to report dead birds via the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s site:

For more information, visit DOH’s website at or contact your county health department.