West Nile Virus

West Nile Virus

Public Health Fact Sheet

What is West Nile Virus?
West Nile Virus (WNV) causes an infection that results in swelling of the brain. In a small percentage of people infected by the virus, the  disease can be serious, even fatal.

How is West Nile Virus spread?
WNV is spread to humans by the bite of an infected mosquito. A mosquito becomes infected by biting a bird that carries the virus. Horses bitten by mosquitoes that carry the virus can also become infected.

What is the treatment?
There is no specific treatment for WNV infection. Doctors can treat the symptoms of WNV.

What can we do to prevent West Nile Virus?
The best way to protect yourself is to prevent mosquito bites.

Reduce mosquito bites by:
  • Avoid shaded areas where mosquitoes may be resting.
  • Limit evening outdoor activity when mosquitoes are most active.
  • Wear protective clothing such as long sleeved shirts and pants.
  • Use insect repellents. Insect repellents containing 20% - 30% DEET work best. Follow label directions carefully.
  • Maintain window and door screening to keep mosquitoes out of buildings.
  • Mosquito populations can be reduced by eliminating standing water.
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Body aches
  • Stiff neck
  • Sometimes a skin rash and
  • Swollen lymph glands
  • Disorientation
  • Paralysis
  • Tremors