WHAT IS WEST NILE
West Nile Virus is a flavivirus commonly found in Africa, West
Asia, and the Middle East. It is closely related to St. Louis
encephalitis virus found in the United States. The virus can
infect humans, birds, mosquitoes, horses and some other mammals.
West Nile fever is a case of mild disease in people, characterized
by flu-like symptoms. West Nile fever typically lasts only a
few days and does not appear to cause any long-term health effects.
West Nile Virus is transmitted through the bite of an infected
More severe disease due to a person being infected with this
virus can be "West Nile encephalitis," West Nile meningitis
or West Nile meningoencephalitis." Encephalitis refers
to an inflammation of the brain, meningitis is an inflammation
of the membrane around the brain and the spinal cord, and meningoencephalitis
refers to inflammation of the brain and the membrane surrounding
West Nile virus has been commonly found in humans and birds
and other vertebrates in Africa, Eastern Europe, West Asia,
and the Middle East, but until 1999 had not previously been
documented in the Western Hemisphere. It is not known from where
the U.S. virus originated, but it is most closely related genetically
to strains found in the Middle East
West Nile Virus was first discovered in the United States in
PERSONAL PROTECTION INFORMATION
Here are preventive measures that you and your family can take:
Protect yourself from mosquito bites:
Apply insect repellent sparingly to exposed skin. The more
DEET a repellent contains the longer time it can protect you
from mosquito bites. A higher percentage of DEET in a repellent
does not mean that your protection is betterjust that
it will last longer. DEET concentrations higher than 50% do
not increase the length of protection. Choose a repellent that
provides protection for the amount of time that you will be
Repellents may irritate the eyes and mouth, so avoid applying
repellent to the hands of children.
Whenever you use an insecticide or insect repellent, be sure
to read and follow the manufacturer's DIRECTIONS FOR USE, as
printed on the product.
Spray clothing with repellents containing permethrin or DEET
since mosquitoes may bite through thin clothing. Do not apply
repellents containing permethrin directly to exposed skin. If
you spray your clothing, there is no need to spray repellent
containing DEET on the skin under your clothing.
When possible, wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants whenever
you are outdoors.
Place mosquito netting over infant carriers when you are outdoors
Consider staying indoors at dawn, dusk, and in the early evening,
which are peak mosquito biting times.
Install or repair window and door screens so that mosquitoes
cannot get indoors.
WHAT CAN I DO TO REDUCE MY RISK
Help reduce the number of mosquitoes in areas outdoors where
you work or play, by draining sources of standing water. In
this way, you reduce the number of places mosquitoes can lay
their eggs and breed.
At least once or twice a week, empty water from flower pots,
pet food and water dishes, birdbaths, swimming pool covers,
buckets, barrels, and cans.
Check for clogged rain gutters and clean them out.
Remove discarded tires, and other items that could collect
Be sure to check for containers or trash in places that may
be hard to see, such as under bushes or under your home.
Note: Vitamin B and "ultrasonic" devices are NOT effective
in preventing mosquito bites.
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION ON WEST NILE VIRUS
Centers for Disease Control and Preventions West Nile
OREGONS WEST NILE VIRUS HOTLINE
Oregon West Nile Virus