West Nile Virus
West Nile virus has emerged in recent years in temperate regions of Europe and North America, presenting a threat to public, equine, and animal health. The most serious manifestation of West Nile virus infection is fatal encephalitis (inflammation of the brain) in humans and horses, as well as mortality in certain domestic and wild birds.
The first appearance of West Nile virus in North America occurred in 1999, with encephalitis reported in humans and horses, and the subsequent spread in the United States. As of May 2006, West Nile virus has been documented in the contiguous United States and the District of Columbia.
- Eliminate Standing Water: Mosquitoes, the carriers of West Nile Virus, breed in stagnant water. Regularly empty and clean containers that collect water, such as flower pots, buckets, and birdbaths. Ensure proper drainage around your property.
- Use Mosquito Repellent: Apply an EPA-approved insect repellent containing DEET, picaridin, or oil of lemon eucalyptus when spending time outdoors, especially during dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active.
- Wear Protective Clothing: When venturing outdoors during mosquito season, wear long-sleeved shirts, long pants, socks, and shoes to minimize exposed skin.
- Install Window and Door Screens: Make sure your windows and doors have tight-fitting screens to prevent mosquitoes from entering your home.
- Maintain Your Yard: Keep your yard well-maintained by trimming shrubs, mowing the lawn regularly, and removing any debris that may hold stagnant water.
- Avoid Peak Mosquito Activity: If possible, limit outdoor activities during peak mosquito hours, particularly around dawn and dusk.
- Protect Your Pets: Ensure your pets are protected from mosquitoes by using veterinarian-approved mosquito repellents or keeping them indoors during peak mosquito activity.
- Stay Informed: Stay updated with local health advisories and reports on West Nile Virus cases in your area. Follow the guidelines provided by public health officials to prevent and respond to any potential outbreaks.
Remember, prevention is key in reducing the risk of West Nile Virus transmission. By implementing these preventive measures, you can help safeguard yourself, your loved ones, and your community from mosquito-borne illnesses.
Hear from Len Cribbs, Montrose County Resident about His Experience with West Nile Virus
No one is immune to West Nile Virus and all it takes is one little mosquito with West Nile Virus to bite you and it could change your life forever.