Residents can keep mosquitoes at bay

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The Passaic County Health Department want residents and business owners to be aware of the role they play in controlling mosquitoes.

In fact, for some mosquitoes, like the Asian Tiger, the things people do around their home or business to eliminate mosquito habitat are more important and more effective in controlling them than the most efficient adult mosquito spraying professionals could ever do.

The Asian Tiger mosquito is a known carrier of diseases like Chikungunya, Dengue Fever, and West Nile. The first-ever locally acquired case of Chikungunya was reported in the Caribbean in December, 2013.

Now, less than a year later, a staggering 355,000 people in the Caribbean, Central America, and South America have, or are suspected to have become infected (source: Center for Disease Research and Policy).

And these diseases may be on the move. Residents who travel to places where Chikungunya and Dengue are found can bring them back home. If they're bitten by a mosquito here the disease can then be passed on to a neighbor or family member. As of July 15, 2014, 234 imported cases of Chikungunya had been identified in the United States (source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).

Though only rarely fatal, Chikungunya can be an extremely painful and debilitating disease that may take weeks or months to fully recover from.

Every resident and business owner must ensure that their properties are free from any containers, puddles, pools, ponds, tarps, clogged drains or gutters, toys, birdbaths, or any other objects that are capable of holding water for more than two or three days, and which are not maintained, aerated, or treated in some way, or stocked with fish.

During dry times especially, the only reproductive habitat mosquitoes may find in urban and suburban neighborhoods may be in your backyard.

Residents' participation has another very real benefit: the reduction of pesticides needed to control these dangerous pests. So care for your neighbors and your environment. The bottom line is that mosquitoes need water to reproduce. No water means no mosquitoes. It's that simple.

For more information, go to www.passaiccountynj.org/mosquito

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