West Nile Virus (WNV) is a potentially serious illness that appears primarily through the summer and early fall. West Nile Virus is spread through bites from mosquitoes that have acquired the virus by feeding on infected birds.
- When outdoors, use infect repellants containing DEET.
Follow package directions carefully.
- Mosquitoes are most active at dusk and dawn. Use
insect repellant and war long sleeves and pants at these times. Light-colored
clothing can help you see mosquitoes that land on you.
- Be sure your window and door screens don’t have even
the slightest tear. This will keep mosquitoes outside.
- Empty standing water from buckets and barrels. Get rid
of tires or other collectibles of standing water. Change the water in pet
dishes daily and replace water in birdbaths weekly. Drill holes in tire swings
to allow water drainage. Keep children’s wading pools empty when not in use.
- Put mosquito netting over infant carriers when taking
- Over 130 species of birds have been infected with the
West Nile Virus. Report dead birds to the local and state health departments.
- Advertised Vitamin B supplements and ultrasonic devices do not prevent mosquito bites.
- A few people develop serious symptoms if bitten by an infected mosquito. Generally, these individuals
include the very young, those over 50, the elderly, and those with compromised
immune systems. Symptoms can include: high fever, headache, neck stiffness,
stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness, vision
loss and numbness. Get immediate medical attention if you know a mosquito has
bitten you, fall into one of these at-risk groups, and experience one or more
or the above symptoms.
- Milder symptoms in some individuals. Up to 20% of those bitten by infected mosquitoes may develop
fever, headache, body aches, nausea, vomiting, swollen lymph glands, or a skin
rash on the chest, stomach or back, Symptoms usually last a few days. If they
persist, consult your physician.
- No symptoms at all. About 80% of individuals infected with WNV will not show any symptoms.
Symptoms usually develop between 3 and 14 days after a bite from an infected mosquito. Those with serious symptoms need to go to the Emergency Department, where they can receive intravenous fluids, respiratory and nursing care. Milder cases generally resolve on their own.
All donated blood is check for West Nile Virus before being used. The risk of getting West Nile Virus through blood transfusions of organ transplants is very small.
Several companies are working toward developing a vaccine against West Nile encephalitis.
Source: Centers for Disease Control