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Itchin’ up a storm

Tom Jackson • Jul 12, 2013 at 1:39 PM

Complaints about the bloodsuckers have been coming in to the Erie County Health Department, and they are likely to increase because conditions for the unpleasant insects are ideal, said Bob England, the county’s environmental health director.

Heavy rain in the last few weeks, mixed with rising temperatures, have created good conditions for mosquitoes to breed, England said. The health department has been spraying bodies of water since spring, using a larvacide that’s harmless to humans and most animals but deadly to young mosquitoes. Another round of spraying will likely be needed, England said.   

Homeowners can help the cause by dumping out anything on their property that is holding rainwater. Anything holding water — garbage cans, gutters, drainage pipes or buckets — could be a potential breeding place.   

“Of course, it is a public health concern because of the diseases that can be associated with contact with mosquitoes, West Nile being the primary one in Ohio,” England said. Last summer was a bad season for West Nile virus, but no human infections of the disease have been reported so far this year, said Tessie Pollock, spokeswoman for the state health department.    Officials from the Ohio Academy of Family Physicians said in June that six of the 63 species of mosquitoes found in Ohio are known to transmit diseases.   

It’s a good idea to take precautions to fend off mosquitoes, said Dr. Boyd Hoddinott, a physician and Logan County’s health commissioner.    He recommends using 30 percent DEET insect repellent for mosquitoes and ticks because such products are safe for anyone older than two months old.

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