Dengue Fever:outreach and prevention efforts in Martin County

MARTIN COUNTY, FL (WFLX)--    With the summer season just a couple of months away, the Florida Department of Health in Martin County and Martin County Mosquito Control are urging residents to "Drain and Cover" to prevent mosquito breeding and bites.

On Saturday, April 12, the FDOH-Martin County will partner with students from Indian River State College (IRSC) to spread the word about the importance of preventing mosquito borne illness, such as dengue fever, with a door to door prevention information campaign in the Rio area.

"We are excited to be working with IRSC and Martin County Mosquito Control on this outreach effort, said Karlette Peck, Health Officer for the Florida Department of Health in Martin County. "The threat of seeing a resurgence of dengue fever in our area is a real possibility, unless the individuals take measures to prevent mosquitos from breeding and biting."

In addition, a series of community presentations on dengue fever are planned including:

May 7, 6:00 p.m. – Jensen Beach Neighborhood Advisory Council meeting

Jensen Beach Community Center, 1912 NE Jensen Beach Blvd

May 29, 6:00 p.m. - Rio Neighborhood Advisory Council meeting

Rio Civic Center, 1255 NE Dixie Highway

During the summer of 2013, Martin County experienced an outbreak of dengue fever in the Rio/Jensen Beach area. The outbreak led to a community survey in September, where teams from the Florida Department Health made visits to approximately 2,000 randomly selected addresses in the area providing information on dengue fever, and with consent, collecting approximately 360 blood samples for dengue analysis. Two additional cases of dengue fever were confirmed during the survey, bringing the total to 24 confirmed cases.

The Florida Department of Health and Martin County Mosquito Control advise the public to remain diligent in their personal mosquito protection efforts.  These include 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, 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

  • 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 US Environmental Protection Agency-approved repellents contain Picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, 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 CDC, mosquito repellents containing oil of lemon eucalyptus should not be used on children under the age of three years.  DEET is not recommended on children younger than two 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 (EPA) search tool to help you choose skin-applied repellent products:

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

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