Facts About West Nile Virus


  • The chances that any one person is going to become ill from a mosquito bite is extremely low.
  • Most West Nile virus (WNV) infections do not cause any symptoms.
  • Mild symptoms include fever, headache and body aches, often with a skin rash and swollen lymph glands.
  • Severe infections can cause headache, high fever, neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions, paralysis, and sometimes death.
  • People over 50 are more likely to become more seriously ill with encephalitis as a result of being infected with WNV.
  • Doctors can treat the symptoms of WNV encephalitis. If you develope severe illness, seek medical help.
  • WNV grows in birds and is transmitted from bird to bird by infected mosquitoes. If the infected mosquitoes bite horses or humans, they also can become sick.
  • You can not get WNV by caring for people who have the virus. 

Protect Yourself From Mosquito Bites


The best way to protect yourself from getting West Nile Virus is to keep mosquitoes from biting you. If you live or visit an area with mosquitoes:

  • Limit outdoor activities around dusk and dawn when mosquitoes feed, if possible. This is particularly important for elderly adults and small children.
  • If you have to be outdoors when mosquitoes are active, wear lightweight long pants and long-sleeve shirts, or mosquito netting outfits over your clothing.
  • Use a mosquito repellent that contains DEET (n-n-diethyl-meta-toluamide) and follow the directions on the label. Products with 10 % or less DEET are recommended for children.
  • Take special care to cover up the arms and legs of children playing outdoors. When an infant is brought outdoors, cover the baby’s carriage or play pen with mosquito netting.
  • Fix any holes in your screens and make sure they are tightly attached to all your doors and windows.


When Applying Bug Repellent…

  • Use a light touch. Do not cover skin/clothes heavily.
  • Do not put repellent on skin already protected by clothing.
  • Don’t Spray repellent directly onto your face. Put some on your hands then apply thin layer to face.
  • Avoid the mouth and eyes. Repellent can irritate these areas. Also, don’t put repellent on your children’s hands (as these often end up in little mouths and eyes).
  • Be sure to wipe your palms of any excess repellent to prevent accidental contact with eyes, mouth, and genitals.
  • Keep repellent off skin that isn’t healthy. Keep away from wounds, cuts, irritated skin, or skin with eczema or psoriasis.
  • Avoid inhaling aerosolized repellents.
  • Apply carefully. DEET– containing repellents can damage plastics (including eyeglass frames), rayon, spandex, other synthetic fabrics, leather, and painted or varnished surfaces.
  • Insect repellent containing DEET will work for about 10 hours, so there is no need to reapply frequently.
  • Once you go inside, rinse it off with soap and water. 

Reduce Mosquitoes


Mosquitoes can breed in any puddle or standing water that last for more than four days. Here are some simple steps you can take:

  • Remove or empty items that could collect water such as saucers under flower pots, old tires, buckets, empty cans, and food and beverage containers.
  • Drill holes in the bottom of recycling containers that are left outdoors, so that water can drain out.
  • Clean clogged roof gutters; remove leaves and debris that may prevent drainage of rainwater.
  • Turn over plastic wading pools and wheelbarrows when not in use.
  • Do not allow water to stagnate in birdbaths; aerate ornamental ponds or stock them with fish.
  • Keep swimming pools clean and properly chlorinated; remove standing water from pool covers.
  • Remove water from boat cover or store small boats upside down or in the garage.
  • Use landscaping to eliminate standing water that collects on your property.
  • Check around faucets & air conditioner unit. Repair leaks or puddles that remain for several days. 

More Information

State Department Of Public Health and Environment's West Nile Information Hotline (303) 692-2799 

Fight The Bite