Protect yourself against mosquito bites and West Nile virus
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 22, 2013
URBANA, Ill. – West
Nile virus was recently found to be present in a dead bird collected in
Champaign County, bringing to 25 the number of counties in Illinois reporting
the presence of the virus this year. Although no human cases of the virus have
been reported, University of Illinois Extension entomologist Phil Nixon says
it's best to be extra diligent to protect yourself.
way to prevent mosquitoes from becoming a nuisance when you're outside, Nixon
said, is to keep a fan blowing on your deck or patio. "Mosquitoes are not
very good at flying, so they need air to be still in order to land and bite.
Keep the air circulating with a fan blowing over the area where your guests are
preventative measures include:
change or empty the water in birdbaths, dog dishes, or other yard
goldfish or bait minnows to yard ponds (not koi or carp)
an insect repellant that contains DEET
and install screens in windows
a hat, long-sleeved shirt, long pants, shoes, and socks to reduce the
amount of exposed skin
that one of the biggest problems is clogged gutters. "The northern house
mosquito loves to breed in stagnant, even putrid water, so cleaning out gutters
and other places water collects is one of the best things homeowners can
northern house mosquito is a small, medium brown, quiet biter meaning that it
lands softly on the skin and the bite is painless enough that many people don't
even know they've been bit. It doesn't buzz around your ear like other
mosquitoes do. It bites both birds and humans. That's how the West Nile virus
gets transmitted, Nixon said.
mosquito bites a diseased house sparrow or other bird and then bites a human,
infecting them with the virus," said Nixon. "Most people might not even
know they have the virus, may have an immunity built up to it, or may
experience mild flu-like symptoms, but for infants and seniors, a bite from an
infected mosquito can cause serious disease, including muscle weakness,
inflammation of the brain (encephalitis), stiff neck, stupor, disorientation,
tremors, convulsions, paralysis, coma, or death."
that there is a vaccine to prevent West Nile virus for horses. "The
mortality rate for horses is 30 percent," he said.
information, visit www.ipm.illinois.edu/wnv/.