|Joe Lynch MPH, RS
216.201.2000 ext 1241
In 1975, the Cuyahoga County Board of Health instituted its Mosquito Control Program in response to a local outbreak of mosquito-borne encephalitis. Encephalitis is a potentially fatal inflammation of the brain and spinal cord. In Ohio, there are three prevalent mosquito-borne viruses that cause encephalitis.
LaCrosse Encephalitis (LAC) virus is transmitted between small woodland animals and mosquitoes. LAC is usually an infection in young children between the ages of one and fourteen
Humans are at risk of acquiring encephalitis if bitten by a female mosquito that is infected with either LAC or WNV virus.
Currently, outbreaks of Zika virus are occurring in many countries. No locally transmitted Zika cases have been reported in the continental United States, but cases have been reported in returning travelers.
Early symptoms of mosquito-borne disease may include nausea, fever, vomiting, and/or headache. These symptoms usually develop in approximately two weeks. More serious cases include drowsiness, stiff neck, stupor, disorientation, tremors, and convulsions (especially in infants). Diagnosis of encephalitis can only be made through laboratory testing.
Consult your physician if any or all of these symptoms occur, especially during the peak months of virus transmission, which are June through October.
What We Do
CCBH sanitarians and trained Mosquito Control Technicians survey areas to identify the level of mosquito breeding and adult mosquito populations. They treat areas of standing water that may act as potential mosquito breeding sites.
These include catch basins, roadside ditches, and woodland pools. Treating standing water will prevent the immature mosquitoes (larvae) from becoming adults.
Our staff responds to individual complaints regarding standing water and heavy adult mosquito populations. Educational materials and recommendations are provided to homeowners to help lessen the potential for exposure to mosquitoes that may carry disease.
Adult mosquito surveillance (trapping) is also conducted throughout the county to monitor adult mosquito populations and potential disease activity.
Adult mosquitoes are submitted to the Ohio Department of Health for West Nile Virus testing.
This information is utilized to help CCBH and local community officials determine necessary steps to protect the public from disease.
Help Control Mosquitoes
- Dispose of containers that collect water (buckets, tires, cans, etc.)
- Drain and unclogging gutters
- Eliminate areas of standing water
- Empty bird baths at least once a week
- Fill tree holes with tar or cement
- Keep pools and spas in good operating condition or covered
- Repair leaky outdoor faucets that may leave puddles
Minimize Contact with Mosquitoes
- Keep children indoors during times of high mosquito activity (1 hour before and 1 hour after sunset)
- Tightly screen all openings of your home
- Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants whenever possible to cover exposed skin.
Routinely reapply an insect repellent containing 30% DEET (diethyl-m-toluamide) for adults. Children and pregnant women should utilize a product with a lower concentration (10%) of DEET. Follow manufacturer directions for the application of insect repellents.
All of the EPA-registered active ingredients have demonstrated repellency, however some provide more longer lasting protection than others. Additional research reviewed by CDC suggests that repellents containing DEET or picaridin typically provide longer-lasting protection than the other products.
Oil of lemon eucalyptus provides longer lasting protection than other plant-based repellents. Permethrin is another long-lasting repellent that is intended for application to clothing and gear, but not directly to skin.
In general, the more active ingredient (higher concentration) a repellent contains, the longer time it protects against mosquito bites.
See a Doctor if You Feel Sick
Prompt diagnosis and treatment of mosquito-borne encephalitis is important to a patient’s recovery. If you feel that you may have been exposed to the encephalitis virus, consult a physician immediately.