CDC Urges West Nile Virus Disease Prevention

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is urging people to take steps to prevent West Nile virus infections.  A total of 241 cases of West Nile virus disease (including four deaths) have been reported in 42 states by the CDC – the highest number of cases reported through the end of July since 2004.

Most people are infected from June–September with a peak in mid-August. This year, however, the outbreak is larger and is occurring earlier than expected. Factors that affect outbreak occurrences include weather, numbers of infected mosquitoes, and human behavior.

No medications or vaccines are currently available to treat or prevent West Nile virus disease. The best way to prevent West Nile virus disease is to avoid mosquito bites:

  • Use insect repellents when outdoors.
  • Wear long sleeves and pants during dawn and dusk.
  • Install or repair screens on windows and doors.  Use air conditioning, if available.
  • Empty standing water from items outside homes such as flowerpots, buckets, and kiddie pools.

West Nile virus is spread by infected mosquitoes that bite people. About 1 in 5 people will develop symptoms including fever, headache, joint pains, vomiting, diarrhea and rash. People >50 years of age and those with certain medical conditions, such as cancer, diabetes, hypertension, kidney disease, and organ transplants, are at greater risk for serious illness.

For more information call (800) CDC-INFO or visit http://www.cdc.gov/westnile.