West Nile Virus
WEST NILE VIRUS (WNV) is now in most of the United States. Most people become infected through the bite of an infected mosquito. You can reduce your chance of getting infected by avoiding mosquito bites.
What can I do to prevent WNV?
- When you are outdoors, use insect repellent containing an EPA-registered active ingredient.
- Many mosquitoes are the most active from dusk to dawn. Wear long sleeve shirts, long pants, and socks sprayed with repellent if you plan to be outdoors when mosquitoes are most active. You may consider staying indoors when the mosquitoes are biting.
- Make sure the screens on your windows and doors are in good shape.
- Get rid of mosquito breeding sites by emptying standing water from flowerpots, buckets and other things that hold water.
What is the risk of getting sick from WNV?
- People over 50 are at higher risk to get severe illness and are more likely to develop serious symptoms of WNV if they do get sick and should take special care to avoid mosquito bites.
- Being outside means you're at risk. The more time you're outdoors, the more time you could be bitten by an infected mosquito. Pay attention to avoiding mosquito bites if you spend a lot of time outside, either working or playing.
- Risk through medical procedures is very low. Donated blood is checked for WNV before being used. The risk of getting WNV through blood transfusions and organ transplants is very small, and should not prevent people who need surgery from having it. If you have concerns, talk to your doctor.
- Pregnancy and nursing do not increase the risk of becoming infected with WNV. The risk that WNV may present to a fetus or an infant infected through breast milk is still being evaluated. Talk with your doctor if you have concerns.
What happens if l get infected?
- Most people who get infected with WNV do not have any symptoms. Some
people develop a mild illness called West Nile Fever. This mild illness gets better on its own. No treatment is needed. A small number of people (about 1 in 150) who get
infected with WNV develop severe disease, called West Nile encephalitis or
West Nile meningitis (inﬂammation of the brain or the area around the brain). This
severe disease usually requires hospitalization.
- Symptoms of severe illness include headache, high fever, stiff neck, mental confusion, muscle weakness, tremors (shaking), convulsions, coma, and paralysis. See your doctor if you develop these symptoms.
- There is no speciﬁc treatment for the WNV infection and there is no vaccine available for people.
Please contact UTA Health Services should you have any additional questions at 817.272.2771.