West Nile Virus
West Nile Virus (WNV) is a potentially serious illness. It is considered as a seasonal epidemic in North America that flares up between summer and fall.
Information is provided below. For a fast facts sheet please visit the following link: West Nile Virus Fast Facts. To print a poster please click on the following link: West Nile Poster. Feel free to print and share!
What Can I do to prevent West Nile Virus?
- When outdoors, use insect repellant containing an EPA-registered insect repellent.
- Mosquitoes are most active at dusk and dawn. Wear long sleeves and long pants. Don't forget the insect repellent during these times. You may consider staying indoors during these times.
- Make sure there are screens on windows and doors to help keep mosquitoes out.
- Get rid of mosquito breeding grounds by emptying standing water from any type of container.
What are the symptoms?
- No Symptoms in Most People:
- Approximately 80% of people (4 out of 5) who are infected will not show any symptoms at all, but there is no way to know in advance if more serious symptoms will develop.
- Milder Symptoms in Some People:
- Up to 20% of the people infected will display symptoms which can include fever, headache and body aches, nausea, vomiting and sometimes swollen lymph glands or a skin rash on the chest, stomach, and back. Symptoms can last for as short as a few days, though even healthy people have been sick for several weeks.
- Serious Symptoms in a Few People:
- 1 in 150 infected will develop severe illness. The severe symptoms include high fever, headache, neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness, vision loss, numbness and paralysis. These symptoms may last several weeks, and neurological effects may be permanent.
How is West Nile Virus Spread?
- Infected Mosquitoes
- Most often, is spread by the bite of an infected mosquito. Mosquitoes become infected when they feed on infected birds. Mosquitoes can then spread West Nile to humans and other animals when they bite.
How soon do people get WNV?
People typically develop symptoms between 3 and 14 days after being bitten by the infected mosquito.
What Should I do if I think I have West Nile Virus?
Milder West Nile virus illness improves on its own, and people do not need to seek medical attention. If more serious symptoms are developed seek medical attention immediately, especially if you are experiencing severe headaches or confusion.
What else should I know?
If you find a dead bird: This may be a sign of an infected bird with West Nile Virus. Do not handle the body with your bare hands. Contact the local health department for instructions on reporting and disposing of the body.
All information taken from the CDC West Nile Virus Fact Sheet