Warm weather brings with it a greater risk for mosquito-borne illnesses, but health officials say precautions can be taken to reduce breeding grounds.
According to public health officials, bites from infected mosquitoes are the primary cause of at least three serious illnesses common to the state: encephalitis and the West Nile Virus.
To reduce exposure, county health officials recommend citizens take steps to reduce mosquito breeding grounds. That includes cleaning out rain gutters, birdbaths, old tires and pet dishes regularly. Other measures include filling yard holes, putting screens or other covers over rain barrels and repairing leaking outdoor faucets.
“The greatest way to prevent the spread of mosquito-borne disease is the removal of standing water around the house,” said Seth Early, environmental health specialist with the Haywood County Health Department. “So far, 2013 has been a very wet year, and that could make it easier for mosquito populations to grow this spring and summer.”