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Mosquitoes: More than just annoying

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Photo: W1zzard/iStockphoto

For some workers, mosquitoes are an on-the-job hazard. That’s because some mosquitoes carry diseases – such as Zika virus, West Nile virus, Chikungunya virus, dengue and malaria – that can be transmitted to people.

Employees at particular risk include outdoor workers, workers who travel for business to countries in which mosquito-borne diseases are found, lab techs who may work with potentially infected samples or health care workers who may treat patients infected with mosquito-borne diseases.

“Different species of mosquitoes are found in varying geographic locations, are most active at different times and spread different diseases,” NIOSH cautions. “The risk to workers varies with where they are working in the United States or elsewhere, type of habitat at the worksite, season, and time of day.”

Protect your workers

Mosquitoes breed in standing water, so eliminate any sources on the jobsite. Tires, buckets, bottles and barrels are some examples. In addition, keep mosquitoes from getting indoors by placing screens on doors and windows, which should be closed when possible. Provide workers with long-sleeved shirts, pants and gloves, and distribute and encourage the use of insect repellent that contains DEET.

Let workers know that if they develop symptoms of a mosquito-borne disease (find examples at cdc.gov/niosh/topics/outdoor/mosquito-borne/default.html), they should tell their supervisor and seek medical attention.

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