Help prevent Zika and other mosquito-borne diseases through Tip ‘n’ Toss – Northwest Georgia News

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Public health officials are urging Northwest Georgia residents to clean up around their homes, their yards and their communities and discard unnecessary items that can hold water. “We’re encouraging folks to Tip ‘n’ Toss after every rainfall to reduce the number of mosquitoes and help prevent the potential spread of Zika and other mosquito-borne  viruses in Northwest Georgia,” says Logan Boss, Public Information Officer for the Georgia Department of Public Health’s Northwest Health District. 

“Our biggest mosquito problems are the ones we grow ourselves,” Boss says.  “Mosquitoes don’t travel far from where they breed, so if you have them in your yard or around where you live, they are almost certainly breeding nearby.” 

As of this date, no locally transmitted Zika cases have been reported in Georgia, but cases have been reported in returning travelers.  Another mosquito-borne disease, West Nile virus, was first detected in Georgia in 2001 and, while not that common, is now considered endemic to the state.

Unlike West Nile, which is transmitted from birds to humans by mosquitoes of the Culex family, Zika virus is transmitted primarily through the bite of infected Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus mosquitoes.  Both Aedes species are found in Georgia.

Aedes mosquitoes typically bite during the day, especially in the early morning and late afternoon hours but some bite at night. They are called “container breeders” because they lay eggs in any type of container with water  —   even something as small as a bottle cap if it has water in it

One of the most effective ways of preventing the spread of Zika and other mosquito-borne viruses is controlling the mosquito population by eliminating standing water around the home and in the yard. “From a public health perspective, it’s much simpler to control the mosquito population than the virus itself, Boss says. “Source reduction is a key prevention strategy.”

After every rainfall, tip out water in flowerpots, planters, children’s toys and wading pools, and buckets. If it holds water and you don’t need it (old tires, bottles, cans), toss it out. Clean out gutters, remove piles of leaves and keep vegetation cut low to prevent landing sites for adult mosquitoes

For containers without lids or that are too big to Tip ‘n’ Toss, such as bird baths and garden pools, use larvicides such as mosquito dunks or mosquito torpedoes and follow the label instructions. Larvicides can also be effective for treating small bodies of water such as drainage ponds, tree stumps and tire ruts.  Larvicides will not hurt birds or animals.

“Mosquitoes don’t recognize property lines, so controlling their numbers has to be a collaborative effort among neighbors,” says Tim Allee, Environmental Health Director for the Northwest Health District.  “We are increasing mosquito surveillance and educating residents, but the greatest impact will be when individuals take personal responsibility for their homes, yards and communities.  We’re also encouraging homeowners associations and neighborhoods, along with city and county governments, to sponsor community cleanup days.”

It is also important to protect yourself from mosquito bites. Use EPA-registered insect repellents containing 20%-30% DEET, Picaridin, IR3535, or Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus. Wear light colored clothing with long sleeves, long pants and socks to help prevent mosquito bites.

To learn more about Zika protection and prevention or Tip ‘n Toss, log on to or or

Help prevent Zika and other mosquito-borne diseases through Tip ‘n’ Toss – Northwest Georgia News