Earlier this week, the Wyoming Department of Health confirmed the first case of West Nile virus (WNV) of the season in Sheridan County. At least two states surrounding Wyoming have also had confirmed cases of WNV so far this summer. Based on this news the Campbell County Health Infection Prevention Department would like to share some information on the virus and prevention tips.
First, WNV is a disease that is spread by mosquitos that are infected after feeding on infected birds. It is then transferred to humans if an infected mosquito bites them. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), 70-80% of people who become infected with West Nile virus do not develop any symptoms. However, some symptoms of WNV include a fever, headache, body aches, joint pain, vomiting, diarrhea, or a rash. Fatigue and weakness can last for weeks or months after infection as well.
An easy way to protect yourself from WNV is to remember the five D's of prevention.
- Dawn & Dusk: This is prime feeding time for mosquitos, so avoid going outside during these times.
- Dress: Wear pants, long-sleeved shirts, socks, and close-toed shoes to prevent bites. It is also recommended to wear light colored clothing, since mosquitos are less attracted to it.
- Drain: Mosquitos breed near shallow water, like kid pools, so remove or drain standing water frequently.
- DEET: Use insect repellent containing DEET to keep mosquitos at bay. Lemon eucalyptus oil or Picardin also work to prevent mosquito bites. Reapply repellent as necessary, and follow the label instructions.
If left untreated West Nile virus can cause serious health problems, such as encephalitis (inflammation of the brain), meningitis (inflammation of the lining of the brain and spinal cord), or even death. If you experience any of the above symptoms after a mosquito bite, and suspect that you may have been infected with WNV you should seek medical attention right away.
If you have any further questions about West Nile virus you can contact Veronica Taylor, CCH Director of Infection Control, Professional Development and Emergency Preparedness, at 307.688.6040 or firstname.lastname@example.org.