West Nile Virus (WNV) is a disease that spreads from birds to humans through infected mosquitoes. The best defense against West Nile Virus is controlling the mosquitoes that carry the disease, and the best way to defend against mosquitoes is to eliminate their breeding areas.
To avoid being bitten by mosquitoes:
• Use insect repellents when you go outdoors. Repellents containing
DEET, picaridin, IR3535, and some oil of lemon eucalyptus and paramenthane-
diol products provide longer-lasting protection.
• Wear long sleeves and pants from dusk through dawn when many mosquitoes are most active.
• Install or repair screens on windows and doors. If you have it, use your air conditioning.
• Help reduce the number of mosquitoes around your home.
• Drain standing water from containers such as flowerpots, gutters, buckets, pool covers, pet water dishes, discarded tires, wading pools, and bird baths or replace standing water daily.
• Mosquito Dunks are a safe biological mosquito control. Each dunk kills mosquito larvae for 30 days or more. They can be used in fish habitats or near the household in flower pots, tree holes, bird baths, roof gutters, rain barrels, old tires, as well as
animal watering troughs.
• Another simple and easy solution for those who collect rain water to water plants is to add a few drops of vegetable oil to the water. The oily film keeps mosquitos from breeding in the water. This is also safe for birds and pets.
• Use organic landscape management to encourage birds, bats, lady bugs, dragonflies and other beneficial insects.
It is important to protect yourself. In 2012, more than 70 percent of West Nile Virus victims did not use repellents. Fortunately, most people infected with WNV will have no symptoms. About one in five people who are infected will develop a fever with other symptoms.
Remember the five D’s: (1) DEET, (2) Dress, (3) Dusk and Dawn, (4)
Doors, and (5) Drain.
For more information on ways to protect yourself, visit
the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.