Public Health Briefing on 2018 Mosquito and Tick Season

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(Lindenwold, NJ) – The Camden County Department of Health and Human Services and the Camden County Mosquito Control Commission informed the public about the health threats to residents, and deterrent measures being taken to protect the community, during the 2018 mosquito and tick season. The mosquito spraying season has just started and there have been new developments with the statewide tick populations that are relevant to neighborhoods and families throughout the region.

“According to the state Department of Health there have been four confirmed cases of Zika Virus from mosquitos reported in New Jersey so far this year. We are working closely with our counterparts at the state and the CDC to monitor for all mosquito borne viruses including, West Nile Disease and Encephalitis,” said Freeholder Carmen Rodriguez, liaison to the Camden County Department of Health and Human Services. “Furthermore, we know that more people are contracting Lyme disease and other tick borne afflictions than ever before. We also know tick species, like the Lone Star, are expanding their range and brining new communicable diseases to our region.”

In regard to ticks, Lyme disease is the fastest growing communicable disease in the nation and has tripled over the last 20 years. More than 5,000 people contracted Lyme disease in New Jersey last year. Furthermore, New Jersey has identified a new species of tick this year called the Longhorn tick that will bring new challenges with it combined with the expansion of the Lone Star tick. 

“I encourage you and your family to be extra vigilant against ticks this year, and take precautions to reduce your risk of getting bitten,” Rodriguez said. “Avoid wooded areas with dense underbrush, wear light-colored clothing with long sleeves and tuck you pants into your socks. Always wear insect repellants in high risk areas and check yourself frequently.”

Camden County also serves all of South Jersey for a statewide program to utilize fish that eat mosquito larva before they become airborne to help reduce the mosquito population.

“An adult fish can consume hundreds of mosquito larva in a single day,” Rodriguez said. “This program will cut down on the use of pesticides in our environment by controlling the mosquito population in a natural way.”

More than 30,000 fish will be delivered to the Camden County Mosquito Commission in Lindenwold where southern counties can pick up the Fathead Minnow and Killifish, both native species with no limitation on distribution.  County mosquito agencies previously traveled to the Hackettstown Fish Hatchery for their supplies.

The Camden County Mosquito Commission regularly checks several thousand suspected mosquito breeding sites across the county. Spraying is scheduled on an as needed basis based upon the results of their surveillance efforts.

The commission works with the Public Health Environmental Laboratories in Trenton to verify the presence of West Nile Virus and other communicable diseases in their samples. If a pool tests positive, the Mosquito Commission returns to spray the area. The sprayings take place in the early morning hours when the mosquitoes are most active. The mosquito spray is not harmful to humans or pets, but you should avoid direct contact if you have respiratory concerns or are sensitive to irritants.

Tips on Ticks: Download here

Residents should check their property for any object that holds water for more than a few days.  All pre-adult mosquito stages (eggs, larvae, and pupae) must be in stagnant water in order to develop into adult mosquitoes.                                                                                                

  • Swimming pools are a common problem.  All pools must be checked and maintained to keep them mosquito-free.  Swimming pools can breed mosquitoes within days after you stop adding chlorine or other disinfectant.  Pool covers can catch rainwater and become a mosquito development site. Add a little chlorine to kill mosquitoes.
  • Maintain screens to prevent adult mosquitoes from entering your home or business.
  • Personal protection is strongly urged if you are outside when mosquitoes may be active—generally dawn and dusk.  Insect repellants containing between 10-35% DEET are very effective, however, be sure to follow the label directions and take extra precautions with children and infants.

The Camden County Mosquito Commission suggests checking around your yard for mosquito breeding containers.  The following is a checklist of tips to help eliminate mosquito breeding:

  • Dispose of unnecessary containers that hold water.  Containers you wish to save turn upside down or put holes in the bottom so all water drains out.   
  • Lift up flowerpots and dump the water from the dish underneath every week.
  • Stock fish or add mosquito larvicide to ornamental ponds.
  • Change water in bird baths, fountains, and animal troughs weekly.
  • Screen vents to septic and other water tanks.
  • Store large boats so they drain and small boats upside down.  If covered, keep the tarp tight so water does not pool on top of the tarp.
  • Do not dump leaves or grass clippings into a catch basin or streams.
  • Do not allow water to collect on sagging tarps or awnings.
  • Do not allow trashcan lids to fill with water.
  • Check downspouts that are able to hold enough water to allow mosquito larvae to mature.

For more information, or to report a problem, contact the Camden County Mosquito Commission at (856) 566-2945 or skeeters@camdencounty.com