mosquitoes and birds. Mosquitoes become infected with West Nile virus when they feed on infected birds, which may carry the virus in their blood for a few days. Infected mosquitoes can then transmit West Nile virus to humans and animals when biting to take a blood meal. In rare instances, West Nile virus may be transmitted from human to human through organ donation, blood transfusion, breastfeeding, or from pregnant mother to fetus. These new modes of transmission account for only a small number of cases. WNV is NOT spread by casual contact such as kissing or touching a person infected with the virus.
Most common symptoms/signs of West Nile Fever and West Nile Neuroinvasive Disease:
West Nile Fever (WNF)-fever, headache, sore throat, body aches, fatigue, skin rash and swollen lymph glands.
West Nile Neuroinvasive Disease (WNND) - headache, high fever, stiff neck, disorientation, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness, coma and paralysis.
Protect yourself from mosquitoes by remembering the four D's:
- DUSK/DAWN are the times of day you should try to stay indoors. This is when infected mosquitoes are most active.
- DRESS in long sleeves and pants when you're outside. For extra protection, you may want to spray thin clothing with repellent.
- DEET (N, N-diethyl-m-toluamide) is an ingredient to look for in your insect repellent. Follow label instructions, and always wear repellent when outdoors. Reapply as you would with sunscreen, after sweating and swimming.
- DRAIN standing water in your backyard and neighborhood - old tires, flowerpots, and clogged rain gutters. These are mosquito-breeding sites.