Statewide Advisory for Mosquito-Borne Illnesses - Malaria
The Florida Department of Health issued a statewide mosquito-borne illnesses advisory for malaria on June 26, 2023 (https://www.floridahealth.gov/newsroom/2023/06/20230626-mosquito-borne-illnesses.pr.html). The advisory was prompted by the confirmation of four cases of local malaria transmission in Sarasota County. While malaria is typically found in tropical and subtropical regions and transmitted through mosquitoes, it is uncommon for local transmission to occur in Florida.
Malaria is transmitted through the bites of infected Anopheles mosquitoes. These mosquitoes become infected when they feed on an infected person, allowing the parasite to develop inside them and subsequently transmit it to another human being. Symptoms of malaria may include high fever, chills, headaches, muscle aches, and fatigue. If left untreated, malaria can lead to severe complications and, in some cases, be life-threatening. It is important to note that malaria cannot be transmitted directly from person to person.
There have been no locally acquired malaria cases reported in Indian River County. District staff are working closely with the Florida Department of Health and monitoring populations of Anopheles mosquitoes within the District.
Prevention is the most effective approach to combat malaria. Here are some preventive measures you can take:
- Use insect repellents approved by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) containing DEET, picaridin, or other recommended ingredients.
- Wear long-sleeved shirts, long pants, and socks when outdoors, particularly in areas with swampy surroundings where Anopheles mosquitoes reproduce, especially during peak mosquito activity during dusk and dawn.
- Share this information with friends, family, and neighbors to raise awareness and encourage necessary precautions, particularly during mosquito season.
For any questions or concerns regarding malaria or mosquito control measures, please refer to the Indian River County Health Department's website (https://indianriver.floridahealth.gov/) or the District’s website (https://www.irmosquito.com/) . By staying informed and taking preventive measures, we can minimize the risk of malaria transmission within our community.
Additional resources:Indian River Mosquito Control District's 5-year Strategic Plan
Approved Strategic Plan
The strategic plan was approved on February 14, 2023 by the IRMCD Board of Commissioners at the regular IRMCD February Board meeting. This plan will be reviewed annually and updates will be made in accordance with the District's mission, vision and values. This document will assist the elected governing board in future policy and financial decisions and will be utilized by staff as guidance for goals and objectives approved by the elected board. We are celebrating the Indian River Mosquito Control legacy and looking to the future, leading innovative science-based services, embracing our environment, and improving the quality of life for our community. Thank you to all those who contributed to the creation of this plan. We appreciate the support, insight, and partnership you continually give to our program. At Indian River Mosquito Control we are proudly protecting our community through innovative science- based solutions, fiscal responsibility, enhancing customer service and community engagement, utilizing creative approaches to research and technology while embracing environmental challenges. We look forward to serving our community.
The Indian River Mosquito Control District (IRMCD) is an independent taxing district which was legislatively established in 1925 and provides mosquito control services in the eastern 2/3 of Indian River County. IRMCD is a Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) state-certified mosquito control program.
- Enabling Legislation - Chapter 2006-344 Laws of Florida
- Enabling Legislation Amendment - Chapter 2011-243 Laws of Florida
- Mosquito Control - Fla. Statues Chapter 388
- Mosquito Control Program Administration - Chapter 5E-13, F.A.C.
The District government has been organized according to the Council–Administrator form of government. As such, the Board of Commissioners (Board) sets policy, adopts legislation, and approves the budget. The Board of Commissioners appoints an administrator to conduct the day-to-day district business, to prepare the budget, to oversee department heads and to recommend policy to the Board.
The three members of the Board of Commissioners are elected at large for staggered, four-year terms. To accomplish this, two Commission seats are up for election in one election cycle with the remaining Commission seat up for election in a second election cycle two years later. Board officers are elected annually.
IRMCD’s operating budget is generated primarily by ad valorem property taxes. IRMCD is a sustaining member of the Florida Mosquito Control Association (FMCA), the American Mosquito Control Association (AMCA), and the Florida Association of Special Districts (FASD). IRMCD participates in the Environmental Protection Agency’s Pesticide Environmental Stewardship Program (PESP) by being a “PESP partner under the AMCA's auspices”.
IRMCD’s current facilities (on 10 acres of property located at 5655 41st Street, Vero Beach, FL) were originally constructed in 1967 with significant additions and renovations undertaken during 2000 and 2006. The buildings include a main office with laboratories, shop, vehicle work bays, chemical (and general) storage rooms, covered vehicle and equipment storage areas, and a poultry raising/holding building. No underground tanks exist on IRMCD property. In 2009 the District received title to Hole-in-the-Wall Island located in the Indian River Lagoon at the eastern terminus of 69th Street. It is a 130 acre mosquito control impoundment dominated by mangroves with an all-encompassing conservation easement. In June of 2015, Indian River Mosquito Control District purchased an undivided one-half interest in the lot located at 609 19th Street SE as tenants in common with the Indian River Land Trust. This lot serves as access to our South Bills Impoundment.
IRMCD has over 30 vehicles which are regularly used in carrying out IRMCD’s responsibilities. They include 4WD pickup trucks, an F-350 pump service truck, dump trucks. IRMCD typically maintains 10 all-terrain-vehicles (ATVs and RTVs) which are used by the Inspector/Sprayers for field inspections, ground treatments and herbicide applications. The District also owns heavy equipment such as a tractor, rubber-tracked skid steer loaders, grinder, forklift, and numerous heavy duty impoundment pumps installed at various locations along the Indian River Lagoon. IRMCD also operates several boats primarily for larval inspections.
All full-time IRMCD employees are required to be licensed in Public Health Pest Control by FDACS. This license permits employees to apply restricted-use pesticides. Employees maintain this license by attending State-approved programs where continuing education credits are provided. In-house training is also provided on all aspects of our program, including conducting state-approved education credit courses. Several employees have also received Advanced Inspector/Sprayer Certification through FDACS and the University of Florida. IRMCD staff members regularly provide educational programs for the public including service organizations, schools, environmental organizations, church groups, etc.
WORKER SAFETY CONSIDERATIONS
IRMCD has a formal safety program which qualifies for a Workers Compensation discount. IRMCD has periodic inspections by the FDACS and the local health department for compliance monitoring. A Safety Data Sheet (SDS) book of chemicals that IRMCD uses is kept current and available to all employees for their review. Fire extinguishers, which are inspected and serviced annually, are located throughout IRMCD property and in each vehicle. Emergency wash facilities are available on the District property. Hiring practices are consistent with requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). IRMCD is a drug free workplace. Employees are required to maintain a good driving record.