Published: Sep 17, 2010 6:31 PM EDT
Updated: Sep 17, 2010 2:31 PM EDT

COLLIER COUNTY, Fla. - Collier County Health Department (CCHD) Director, Joan Colfer, M.D., M.P.H. announced the Florida Department of Health (DOH) has issued a mosquito-borne illness alert for Collier County. Two human cases of West Nile Virus (WNV) infection were confirmed late Thursday and there is heightened concern that additional residents may be at risk of being bitten by mosquitoes and becoming ill. Both individuals infected by WNV are older men. "Sadly, one of the men has passed away and the other is hospitalized", reports Dr. Colfer.

"In discussion with our partners at the Collier Mosquito Control District, although there are actually low numbers of mosquitoes in our area, all it takes is one mosquito bite to infect us and make us ill. Therefore, we hope our residents and visitors will take the mosquito alert seriously and implement all mosquito precautions and be especially vigilant about the use of mosquito repellant," urges Dr. Colfer.

Symptoms of West Nile virus infection may include headache, fever, fatigue, dizziness, weakness and confusion. Physicians should contact their county health department if they suspect an individual may meet the case definition for a mosquito-borne illness. DOH laboratories provide testing services for physicians treating patients with clinical signs of mosquito-borne disease.

To protect yourself and loved ones from mosquitoes, implement the "5Ds":

· Dusk and Dawn -- Avoid being outdoors when mosquitoes are seeking blood. For many species, this is during the dusk and dawn hours.

· Dress -- Wear clothing that covers most of your skin.

· DEET -- When the potential exists for exposure to mosquitoes, repellents containing DEET (N,N-diethyl-meta-toluamide, or N,N-diethyl-3-methylbenzamide) are recommended. Picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, and IR3535 are other repellent options. Always read label directions carefully for the approved usage before you apply a repellent. Some repellents are not suitable for children.

· Drainage -- Check around your home to rid the area of standing water, which is where mosquitoes can lay their eggs.

Tips on Eliminating Mosquito Production Sites:

· Clean out eaves, troughs and gutters.

· Remove old tires or drill holes in those used in playgrounds to drain.

· Turn over or remove empty plastic pots.

· Pick up all beverage containers and cups.

· Check tarps on boats or other equipment that may collect water.

· Pump out bilges on boats.

· Replace water in birdbaths and pet or other animal feeding dishes at least once a week.

· Change water in plant trays, including hanging plants, at least once a week.

· Remove vegetation or obstructions in drainage ditches that prevent the flow of water.

For more information on mosquito-borne illnesses, and mosquito control treatment schedules visit:

DOH's Environmental Health web site at: http://www.doh.state.fl.us/Environment/medicine/arboviral/index.htmlor call the Collier County Health Department at 239-252-8226. For a two-page Mosquito-borne Disease in Florida Fact sheet describing the transmission cycle, symptoms of illness and mosquito-borne disease prevention go to: http://www.doh.state.fl.us/Environment/medicine/arboviral/pdfs/EducationalMaterials/Arbo_factsheet_Color_Eng.pdf

The Collier Mosquito Control District website at: www.CMCD.org.