Your best bet for preventing West Nile virus and other mosquito-borne illnesses is to avoid exposure to mosquitoes and eliminate mosquito-breeding sites. To help control West Nile virus:
- Eliminate standing water in your yard. Mosquitoes breed in pools of standing water.
- Unclog roof gutters.
- Empty unused swimming pools.
- Change water in birdbaths at least weekly.
- Remove old tires or any unused containers that might hold water and serve as a breeding place for mosquitoes.
To reduce your own exposure to mosquitoes:
- Avoid unnecessary outdoor activity when mosquitoes are most prevalent, such as at dawn, dusk and early evening.
- Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants when you go into mosquito-infested areas.
- Apply mosquito repellent containing an Environmental Protection Agency-registered insect repellent to your skin and clothing. Choose the concentration based on the hours of protection you need — the higher the percentage (concentration) of the active ingredient, the longer the repellent will work. Follow the directions on the package, paying special attention to recommendations for use on children.
- When outside, cover your infant's stroller or playpen with mosquito netting.
A vaccine is available to protect horses from West Nile virus. No vaccine is available for humans, but work to develop a human vaccine is under way.
Dec. 18, 2012
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- Petersen LR. Clinical manifestations and diagnosis of West Nile virus infection. http://www.uptodate.com/ index. Accessed Sept. 5, 2012.
- Ferri FF. Ferri's Clinical Advisor 2013: 5 Books in 1. Philadelphia, Pa.: Mosby Elsevier; 2012. http://www.mdconsult.com/books/about.do?eid=4-u1.0-B978-0-323-08373-7..00002-9&isbn=978-0-323-08373-7&about=true&uniqId=343863096-23. Accessed Sept. 6, 2012.
- West Nile virus. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. http://www.niaid.nih.gov/topics/westnile/understanding/pages/what.aspx. Sept. 6, 2012.
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- Petersen LR. Treatment and prevention of West Nile virus infection. http://www.uptodate.com/ index. Accessed Sept. 5, 2012.
- Updated information regarding insect repellants. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvbid/westnile/RepellentUpdates.htm. Accessed Sept. 7, 2012.
- Anderson CF (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Sept. 10, 2012.
- Mahoney KR (expert opinion). Food and Drug Administration, Rockville, Md. Jan. 10, 2011.