TRIVIA THURSDAY: How Much Do You REALLY Know About West Nile Virus?

West Nile virus and the mosquitoes carrying it have been stealing the spotlight in the news lately, but how much do you REALLY know about this disease? Well, prepare yourself for some tips and tricks for how to ward off West Nile virus in your own backyard — literally!

West Nile virus probably won’t happen to me, so I don’t need to take mosquito prevention seriously. True or False?

FALSE. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a total of 1,590 cases of West Nile virus, including 66 deaths, were reported through late August just this year in the United States. Taking precautions to protect yourself and your family from mosquitoes is very important.

Ways to ward off West Nile virus:

  • Use mosquito repellent that contains the EPA-approved ingredients DEET or Picardin.
  • Wear long sleeves and clothing that covers your skin.
  • Be especially careful at dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are most active.
  • Eliminate standing water by emptying flower pots and other containers, cleaning gutters and cleaning and chlorinating pools. Stocking mosquitofish in ornamental ponds, animal water troughs and unused swimming pools is also a great way to combat mosquitoes.
  • Support your community’s mosquito control program.

Adults ages 50 and older are more likely to develop serious illness from West Nile virus. True or False?

TRUE. Most people who are bitten by mosquitoes carrying West Nile virus experience only mild signs or symptoms, such as a fever or mild headache, or no symptoms at all. These mild symptoms typically go away on their own.

However, adults over the age of 50 as well as those with a weakened immune system have a higher risk of becoming seriously ill. People who experience severe headaches, disorientation or sudden weakness after being bitten by mosquitoes should seek immediate medical attention. Some people even can develop life-threatening illness that includes inflammation of the brain.

Moral of the story: Don’t panic, but do take West Nile virus prevention seriously. Be sure to take advantage of the ways listed above to protect yourself and your family from mosquitoes during the last few days of summer and into the fall.

Photo credit: CDC / James Gathany
Photo credit: CDC / James Gathany
Categories: Pest Management Trivia Uncategorized
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