MANATEE COUNTY- West Nile Virus cases rose 25% in 2018, and Dengue Fever has been found in Miami, but so far in Manatee County all we’re seeing is more bites.

“Mosquito populations throughout the eastern part of the county really got pretty high,” Director of the Manatee County Mosquito Control District Mark Latham said. “So the last couple of weeks  we’ve been spraying a lot of areas in Myakka, in the areas by State Route 64, up in Parrish.”

But luckily even with an uptick of West Nile Virus cases across the United States, Manatee County has seen less of it. With only one sentinel chicken testing positive for the virus in February.

“Other years by this stage we would have already had 10 or 15 chickens turn positive,” Latham said. “Although I’m not telling people that it’s clear, they still need to take precautions, but we haven’t seen yet a significant increase in the virus.”

Those precautions include emptying an standing water.

“Look around your yard,” Latham said. “See if you’ve got, buckets, tires, flower pots, whatever, that might be producing this mosquito because that’s where they lay their eggs, and where they come from.”

And if you’re out at Dusk or Dawn wear long clothing or bug spray containing DEET or new ingredient picaradin.

“If you’re looking in your drugstore or wherever you go to get your repellent,” Latham said. “Look at the label and what it says in the active ingredients and the ones with picaradin are almost as good as ones with DEET, and they do not have that slightly irritant property that DEET has.”

If you are still noticing a large increase in the bugs, you can call Manatee Mosquito Control.

“We’ll check it out,” Latham said. “We’ll look at the levels of mosquitos in their area by setting traps, and then we will respond accordingly, it might be telling them the levels aren’t actually that high, or it might be sending a truck or a helicopter around.”

You can contact them by calling 941-981-3895.