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Cases of West Nile virus confirmed in Collier County

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Florida Department of Health in Collier County (DOH Collier) has issued a mosquito-borne illness alert. DOH Collier has confirmed three cases of West Nile virus as of 12:47 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 7. Health officials are concerned that additional residents may become ill.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), most people infected with West Nile virus don't develop any symptoms, but symptoms of severe illness can include high fever, headache, neck stiffness, disorientation, and muscle weakness.

Residents are advised to "drain and cover" to protect themselves from mosquitos. Here are some tips from DOH Collier:

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 water bowls at least once or twice a week
  • Protect boats and vehicles from rain with tarps that don’t accumulate water.
  • Keep 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, 2-undecanone and IR3535 are effective.
  • Use mosquito netting to protect children younger than 2 months old.
  • Cover doors and windows with screens to keep mosquitoes out of your house.