West Nile Virus
West Nile Virus (WNV) is a potentially serious illness. Experts believe WNV is established as a seasonal epidemic in North America that flares up in the summer and continues into the fall.
What Can I do to Prevent WNV?
The easiest and best way to avoid WNV is to prevent mosquito bites.
- When you are outdoors, use insect repellent containing an EPA-registered active ingredient. Follow the directions on the package.
- Many mosquitoes are most active at dusk and dawn. Be sure to use insect repellent and wear long sleeves and pants at these times or considers staying indoors during these hours
- Make sure you have good screens on your windows and doors to keep mosquitoes out
- Get rid of mosquito breeding sites by emptying standing water from flower pots, buckets and barrels. Change water in pet dishes and replace the water in bird baths weekly. Drill holes in tire swings so water drains out. Keep children's wading pools empty and on their sides when they aren't being used.
What are the Symptoms of WNV?
- Serious Symptoms in a Few People. About 1 in 150 people will develop severe symptoms including high fever, headache, neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness, vision loss, numbness and paralysis. The symptoms may last several weeks and neurological effects may be permanent.
- Milder Symptoms in Some People. Up to 20 percent of the people who become infected have symptoms such as fever, headache, body aches, nausea, vomiting and sometimes swollen lymph glands or skin rash on the chest, stomach and back. Symptoms can last for a few days, though even healthy people have become sick for several weeks.
- No Symptoms in Most People. Approximately 80 percent of people (about 4 out of 5) who are infected with WNV will not show any symptoms at all
How is WNV Spread?
- infected mosquitoes
- transfusions, transplants and mother-to-child
- NOT through touching