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Health Officials Urge Residents to Take Steps to Reduce Mosquitoes to Protect Against West Nile and

The summer begins with Memorial Day weekend and health officials are urging residents to protect themselves against mosquito bites as they plan activities such as cookouts, sporting events and time at the pool.

“As we enter the summer mosquito season, everyone should take steps to protect themselves against mosquito bites and work hard to get rid of mosquito breeding sites,” said Dr. Travis Gayles, county health officer. “While there have been no cases of locally acquired Zika virus in Montgomery County or the state of Maryland, West Nile virus is constantly present in our area and across the United States.”

Residents can help themselves and the community be getting rid of mosquito breeding spots—

• Eliminate standing water in and around your home. Throw out or frequently empty and scrub out items that hold water such as tires, buckets, planters, toys, pools and birdbaths.

• Mosquitoes breed in very small amounts of water. Dispose of trash such as plastic bags, bottle caps, open drink cans or bottles, disposable cups and food wrappers.

• Keep mosquitoes out of your home by using air conditioning if possible. Make sure windows and doors have screens on them and be sure that screens do not have holes.

• Clean out roof gutters and down-spouts. Ensure tarps and swimming pool covers are positioned so water drains off.

To protect again mosquito bites, the best advice is to cover up with long sleeves and pants, limit outdoor activities during peak mosquito times and use an EPA-approved insect repellent containing DEET, Picaridin or oil of lemon eucalyptus.

For more information about West Vile virus, Zika virus and mosquitoes, visit www.montgomerycountymd.gov/mosquito.