Centers for Disease Control and Prevention urges West Nile precautions

September 11, 2012

By Staff

With the West Nile Virus outbreak continually growing, the nation’s emergency physicians urge the public to take precautions now to protect from being infected.

The West Nile Virus, a disease spread by mosquitos, causes only mild, flu-like symptoms in 20 percent of cases, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. About four out of five people who are infected show no symptoms at all.

But in rare cases, some will develop severe symptoms that can include high fever, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions and vision loss. It can also cause permanent neurological damage and even death.

So far in 2012, 47 states have reported more than 1,100 cases West Nile infections, including 41 deaths with 75 percent of the cases reported in Texas, Mississippi, Louisiana, South Dakota and Oklahoma. However, according to the CDC’s website, there were no reported cases yet in Washington state, as of Aug. 28.

The easiest and most effective way to avoid West Nile is to prevent mosquito bites.

  • When you are outside, use insect repellent that contains an EPA-registered active ingredient, such as DEET.
  • Mosquitos are most active when it is darker, such as during dawn or dusk. Wear long sleeves and pants during that time or consider staying indoors during those hours.
  • Put screens on any windows or sliding doors to keep mosquitos out.
  • Get rid of standing water near the house or lawn. Keep fountain waters flowing if possible and maintain clean gutters around your property.
  • Don’t handle dead birds.
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