Rapid Response: How Hillsborough Mosquito Management Responds to Dangerous Diseases
Hillsborough County Mosquito Management Services (MMS) responds fast when a resident is diagnosed with a mosquito-borne illness.
MMS addresses mosquito-borne illnesses with speed and precision to prevent the spread of dangerous diseases that can escalate quickly and impact public health.
Here's a timeline of how quickly Hillsborough responds to help keep county residents safe from mosquito-borne diseases.
Start: When a resident tests positive for one of eight dangerous mosquito-borne diseases (listed below), the physician contacts the Florida Department of Health (DOH) in Hillsborough County to begin a community plan.
DOH alerts Hillsborough County of the location of a suspected or confirmed case of a mosquito-borne illness.
Typically, within a few hours MMS informs residents in the surrounding neighborhoods about the potential dangers of mosquitoes and mosquito-borne illnesses.
The team also performs inspections of properties (when residents give permission) to make sure there are no breeding sites in the containers around the positive case. The inspection team will visit anywhere from 35 to 150 residents depending on population density. If a resident is not home at the time of the inspection, MMS will leave a door hangar with valuable information about how to protect a family from mosquito bites.
MMS also sets specialized mosquito traps that are designed to collect the species of mosquito that is implicated in the transmission of the illness. The traps collect live mosquitoes that will be returned to the MMS lab, where they are tested for dengue or West Nile virus. Some mosquito samples may be sent to the State Public Health lab for testing for Zika, Eastern Equine, and St. Louis Encephalitis.
Evening of that day: Hillsborough MMS proactively sprays the neighborhood and surrounding neighborhoods to dramatically reduce the species of mosquito that can carry the disease in question. This treatment is done in the evening, when mosquitoes are most active. Specialized trucks are deployed to apply insecticides to control both mosquito larvae and adult mosquitoes.
Evening of the next two days: Hillsborough MMS treats these same neighborhoods for up to three consecutive days to reduce adult mosquito populations and to be as comprehensive as possible. In some situations, MMS will deploy its right-side drive Jeep to apply long-lasting larvicides to roadside storm drains and catch basins.
This process is repeated with each diagnosed case of the following mosquito-borne diseases:
- Dengue Fever
- Eastern Equine Encephalitis
- St. Louis Encephalitis
- West Nile Virus
- Yellow Fever