West Nile Virus (WNV) is a viral disease that has emerged in temperate regions of North America and presents a threat to both public and animal health. WNV has become established as a seasonal disease that flares up in the summer months and continues into the fall.
Transmission (Spread of Disease)
- WNV seems to be spread most commonly to humans through the bite of a mosquito that has fed on infected animals.
- WNV also can be spread through blood transfusions or from mother to child.
- WNV is not spread through casual contact with people.
- Approximately 80% of those infected never show any symptoms.
- Approximately 20% of those infected experience only mild symptoms for a few days.
- Skin rash
- Body aches
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Less than 1% of those infected with WNV will develop serious symptoms that may last several weeks.
- High fever
- Neck stiffness
- Permanent Paralysis
- Muscle weakness
- Vision Loss
- Neurological damage
- If you experience any symptoms, contact your physician.
- No vaccine or specific antiviral treatments for WNV infection are available.
- Over-the-counter pain relievers can be used to reduce fever and relieve some symptoms.
- Wear insect repellent on any exposed skin when outside.
- Try to wear long sleeves, pants, and socks---clothing can protect from mosquitoes.
- Be aware of peak mosquito hours in your area.
- Drain standing water to prevent mosquitoes from multiplying.
- Maintain screens on windows and doors to prevent mosquitoes from entering buildings.
Where to Find Additional Information
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)