The principal objective of the Seminole County Mosquito Control Program and the basic reason for the formation of the Program is to provide a countywide, consolidated means for preventing the transmission of West Nile Virus, Encephalitis and other mosquito borne diseases through the reduction of its primary vector, the mosquito.
Secondary objectives which will be accomplished by the coordinated efforts to effect mosquito control are:
- Freedom from mosquito annoyance.
- Improved conservation of water, better water use and disposal practice.
- Increased use and enjoyment of our patios, parks, golf courses, vacation areas, and swimming pools by the relief from mosquito annoyance.
- Increase efficiency of employees in outdoor occupations.
- Reclamation of land as a result of water management with minimum impact to habitat of fish and wildlife.
- Attention toward mosquito control will reflect upon other unsanitary conditions requiring a community effort for correction.
The following principles shall be used in the overall operation of the Program:
- Education, both in service and of the community, shall be continually carried on.
- A Countywide Mosquito Control Program shall be continually carried on, based on incorporation of permanent control measures aimed at progressive reduction of known mosquito breeding sources, as well as such larvaciding measures as are required.
- Adult mosquito control measures are to be included as a secondary type of control, except under epidemic conditions.
- Entomological services shall be continually carried on to determine effectiveness of control operations, sources of mosquitoes, species of mosquitoes, as well as necessity of larvae and adult mosquito control measures.
- Methods, equipment and materials shall be reliable, efficient and used with precision by trained personnel.
- Assist property owners in abating breeding places by providing consulting services.
- Insecticides, oil or other chemicals shall be applied in accordance with the label.
- Arthropods other then mosquitoes will not be controlled by the Program except as such control may be coincidental to mosquito control.
Mosquito Control and Disease
Not only are mosquitoes a public health nuisance and transmitter of disease, but they are relevant to the public health of humans and animals when their density is great enough. Mosquitoes become extremely annoying nuisances with mass hatches depending on the weather, climate and breeding habitats. Except for the random cases of EEE, SLE, WNV, mosquito borne disease is still exceptional in Florida. Concerns are arising as international travel and imports increase resulting in an introduction of vectors and pathogens. Currently West Nile Virus has spread nationwide, infecting thousands a year.
Of the more that 76 mosquito species in Florida, the Asian Tiger Mosquito (Aedes albopictus) is the most infamous because of the recent spread. The first specimen was discovered in Texas in 1985; imported with a shipment of tires from Japan. Since then, the Asian Tiger mosquito has spread to at least 33 states. In 1990, this species was discovered in Seminole and Orange counties and has since been well established. This mosquito is a vector of more than 22 arthropod borne viruses, including those that cause Dengue Fever and Chikungunya fever, which has recently taken on epidemic proportions in the Indian Ocean. Risk of these diseases being introduced in areas with Aedes albopictus is still unknown, however the climate and weather in central-southern Florida is conducive to these diseases becoming established. Besides viruses, mosquitoes can transmit parasites and worms that cause diseases such as malaria and heartworm. Although uncommon, incidences of locally acquired viral, parasite and worm infections appear to be increasing, however reliable data is scarce.
In order to minimize their populations so that mosquitoes are less of a nuisance and health risk, mosquito management is important at both the personal and public levels. Proper sanitation and management of water are keys to reducing the factors, including but not limited to preventing mosquitoes from breeding in the immediate vicinity of homes and by ensuring potential breeding sources are limited.
Larvaciding, adulticiding and source reduction in an Integrated Mosquito Management program can accomplish mosquito control. While many approaches to larvaciding are possible, such as biological and chemical treatments, adulticiding is restricted to pesticide treatments. Barrier treatments are also an effective measure against adult mosquitoes. Mosquito control programs should consider any health hazard of pesticides and potential environmental effects when conducting pesticide application and aim to promote environment changes that are detrimental to the production of mosquitoes, thus reducing the need for pesticide applications, focusing on prevention.
Three very important diseases that we focus on here in Florida: Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE), St. Louis Encephalitis (SLE), and West Nile Virus (WNV); all of these are transmitted by the bite of an infected mosquito.
Seminole County Mosquito Control partners with the Seminole County Health Department in the efforts to monitor these and other potential mosquito-borne diseases through Arbovirus Surveillance including Sentinel Chickens in order to predict and prevent the mosquito borne disease in Seminole County.