West Nile Virus

The most common virus transmitted by mosquitoes in the western United States is West Nile Virus. West Nile Virus is a mosquito-borne virus that can cause encephalitis (an inflammation of the brain) or meningitis (inflammation of the lining of the brain and spinal cord) in humans and other animals.  The virus is named after the West Nile region of Uganda where it was first isolated in 1937.  The virus appeared for the first time in the United States during a 1999 outbreak in New York that killed seven people. It is now found on some scale throughout the United States every year.

West Nile Virus is spread to humans, birds and other animals through the bite of an infected mosquito.  A mosquito becomes infected by biting a bird that is carrying the virus.  West Nile Virus is not spread from person to person, and no evidence indicates the virus can be spread directly from birds to humans.

In areas where West Nile Virus has been detected, only a small proportion of  mosquitoes are likely to be infected.  Most people bitten by an infected mosquito do not become sick. 

Milder symptoms include:

¨ Slight fever

¨ Headache

¨ Body aches

¨ Swollen glands

¨ Sometimes a skin rash

Severe symptoms include:

¨ High fever

¨ Intense headache

¨ Stiff neck

¨ Confusion

Prevention

While BVVCD does its best to monitor for West Nile Virus and we work hard to reduce mosquito numbers throughout the district, there are things you can do to reduce your risk of getting West Nile Virus

  • Eliminate all sources of standing water that can be breeding ground for biting mosquitoes such as flooded fields, watering troughs, birdbaths, wading pools, clogged gutters and old tires. If it holds water for 7 days it can produce mosquitoes.

 

  • Avoid outdoor activities at dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active.

 

  • Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants when in mosquito infested areas. 

 

  • Use mosquito repellents that contain one of the following ingredients: 

 

  • DEET,

  • Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus or

  • Picardin

 

  • Make sure all screen doors and windows are in good repair and fit tightly.

Horses

Horses are very susceptible to West Nile Virus. The most common signs are muscle tremors and an altered gait. Make sure to vaccinate your horses for West Nile Virus. 

Birds

Birds are the primary host for West Nile Virus. Not all birds are susceptible to carrying the virus, there are only certain species that can be infected. If you find a dead bird, DO NOT PICK IT UP. Contact Baker Valley Vector Control District to find out if the bird should be tested for West Nile Virus.

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