West Nile Virus

Understanding West Nile Virus

West Nile Virus (WNV) is a mosquito-borne virus that can cause severe illness in humans and animals. It's primarily transmitted to humans by mosquitoes, and while most infected individuals show no symptoms, some can develop severe or even fatal complications.

  • Symptoms: Most people (80%) infected with WNV do not show symptoms. However, about 1 in 5 people may develop a fever, headache, body aches, joint pains, vomiting, diarrhea, or rash. Severe symptoms, affecting the central nervous system, can also occur but are less common.
  • Transmission: West Nile Virus is primarily transmitted through the bite of an infected mosquito. Mosquitoes become infected when they feed on infected birds, which can carry the virus.

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Prevention: The Three "M"s

  • Minimize Exposure: Avoid outdoor activities during dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are most active. Use screens on windows and doors to keep mosquitoes out.
  • Mosquito Repellent: Use EPA-registered insect repellents with DEET, picaridin, or other effective ingredients. Always follow the product label instructions.
  • Manage Environment: Eliminate standing water in your surroundings, such as in buckets, flowerpots, or tires, as these can be breeding grounds for mosquitoes.

Protection Against West Nile Virus

Who Should Take Precautions?: Everyone, especially during mosquito season and in areas known for West Nile Virus outbreaks.

How to Protect Yourself?: Wear long sleeves and pants, use mosquito repellents, and ensure your living spaces are secure against mosquitoes. Regularly check and remove stagnant water sources.

Safety and Precautions: If bitten and you experience symptoms of West Nile Virus, especially severe headaches or confusion, seek medical attention immediately.

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