West Nile Virus

West Nile Virus

In areas where there has been much rain, ideal conditions for increased mosquito populations have accelerated the occurrence of West Nile virus.
Initially discovered in 1937 in the West Nile province of Uganda, Africa, WNV is known to affect humans, birds and other animals in Africa, Europe, Middle East and Israel. The first outbreak was documented in New York City in the summer of 1999 and is expected to spread throughout North America.

WNV is transmitted by the Culex mosquitoes that have been infected after biting an infected wild bird (American crow, Blue jay) or animal (horses). Dead birds in the area serve as a warning that the virus is active and should be reported to the local health department. Once the virus is in the mosquito it undergoes a reproductive cycle multiplying in many tissues and accumulating in the salivary glands. When the mosquito bites, it salivates and transmits the virus. The mosquito can transmit the virus 10 to 14 days after feeding on an infected bird.

Mosquitoes will lay their eggs in stagnant water such as inside of tires, cans, old trees and anything that has been flooded by water and will not be disturbed. After a rainy period, one should pour out; tip over anything that may have standing water in it. The larvae take 48 hours to hatch and the pupae live in water until it reaches the adult stage. It is the female mosquito that bites as she needs a blood meal before she can lay her eggs. She will continue to bite for a period of several weeks of her adult life.

Eliminate any standing water opportunities such as gutters, birdbaths, wheelbarrows.
Use larvicides to control immature mosquitoes if standing water cannot be eliminated.
Make sure your screen doors and windows do not have any holes in them.
Avoid going outside at dawn and dusk, as this is the time when they are the most active.
Wear protective clothing when going outdoors, long- sleeved shirt and long pants.
Spray yourself with an insect repellent on thin clothing and sparingly on your skin. Follow product labels for safe application. There are numerous products used as a repellent, some can be effective others are not. DEET is the active and most effective ingredient in mosquito repellents.

If you are one of the unfortunate to be infected, you may not even know it for most humans do not have any symptoms. Some develop fever, headaches, body ache, swollen lymph glands and body rash. Only 1 percent will develop symptoms of encephalitis; severe headache, high fever and a stiff neck, disorientation, tremor, convulsions, paralysis and coma. If you experience any of these symptoms contact your physician immediately.
Source of this information is from the USDA: For more updated info in your area go to http://www.ncpmc.org/NewsAlerts/westnilevirus.html.