Mosquitoes Can Cause Illness

Each summer, mosquitoes are a familiar biting pest in backyards, parks and campgrounds.  Most are merely a nuisance and are not major vectors of diseases.  In fact, only a few of the 59 species of mosquitoes in Ohio can transmit disease.  However, the diseases these mosquitoes can carry are very serious ones, such as encephalitis and malaria in humans and heartworm in dogs.  Therefore, it is always advisable to take preventive measures to protect yourself and your family against mosquito bites.

In addition to West Nile Virus, LaCrosse Encephalitis and Chikungunya Virus, Zika Virus primarily spreads through infected mosquitoes. Many areas in the United States have the type of mosquitoes that can spread Zika Virus.  These mosquitoes are aggressive daytime biters and can also bite at night.  Zika can be passed through sex from a person who has Zika to his or her sex partners.  Zika is linked to birth defects. Zika infection during pregnancy can cause a serious birth defect called microcephaly that is a sign of incomplete brain development.  If you have a partner who lives in or has traveled to an area with Zika, do not have sex, or use condoms every time you have sex during your pregnancy.  Pregnant women should not travel to areas with Zika.  If you must travel to one of these areas, talk to your healthcare provider first and strictly follow steps to prevent mosquito bites during your trip.  Returing travelers infected with Zika can spread the virus through mosquito bites.  If you get infected with Zika and a mosquito bites you, you can pass the virus to the mosquito.  The infected mosquito bites other people, who get infected.  Returning travelers should also use condoms or not have sex if they are concerned about passing it to their partners through sex.

Reduce Mosquito Population – Reduce Your Risk of Disease

You can reduce the number of mosquitoes in areas where you live, work and play.

  • Drain or remove standing water containers, like tin cans, old tires and unused flower pots.
  • Clean pools and outdoor hot tubs, keep them empty or covered when not in use, and drain water from pool covers at least weekly.
  • Check for clogged rain gutters and for standing water in places that may be hard to see.
  • Change water in bird baths weekly.
  • Repair window and door screens.

Prevent Mosquito Bites – Reduce Your Risk of Disease

  • Use insect repellent containing an EPA-registered active ingredient and follow the directions on the package.
  • Stay indoors when possible, especially during dawn and dusk.
  • Wear lightweight long sleeves and pants when outside.
  • Stay in places with air conditioning or window and door screens.

Links to More Information:

Mosquito Prevention Information

Mosquito Bite Protection in Ohio

Ohio Department of Health Zika Fact Sheet

Ohio Department of Health Zika Fact Sheet – Spanish

Zika and Pregnancy Information

CDC Zika Travel Information 

Zika Virus Information from the Centers for Disease Control

Fight the Bite

Fight the Bite – Child Friendly Version

ODH Reminder About Avoiding Mosquito-Borne Illnesses

Mosquito Information from the Ohio Department of Health