According to the CDC, West Nile virus is the most common virus mosquitoes transmit to people, and it has been found in every state in the continental U.S. While many people infected with the virus may show few symptoms, 20 percent of people can experience signs of fever, headaches and body aches, joint pains, vomiting, diarrhea, or rash. If left untreated, West Nile virus can develop into a more severe form of the disease; however, this is the case for less than one percent of people infected, according to the CDC.
In 2017, West Nile Virus was reported throughout the continental U.S. and District of Columbia in humans, birds and mosquitoes, placing urgency on state officials to help communities protect against mosquitoes.
Protect yourself from West Nile by reducing the mosquito population through these steps:
- Put up personal barriers. Wear light-colored clothing and cover up with long sleeves and pants. Culex mosquitoes which transmit West Nile are particularly active during dawn and dusk.
- Reinforce your home. Mosquitoes will fly through the smallest openings to enter your home. Make sure cracks and crevices in screens or on doors and windows are sealed to keep the pests out.
- Apply mosquito-specific defenses. Apply EPA-approved bug repellent, such as DEET, on exposed skin – especially your legs. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends a variety of safe and effective EPA-approved repellents for you and your family. Read and follow all the label instructions on repellents before applying them
- Get rid of standing water. When cleaning up around your home, remove old tires and empty any cans, buckets, bottles, clogged rain gutters, birdbaths, pet bowls, flowerpot saucers and plastic wading pools, which attract mosquitoes and give them a place to breed.