Health
6:37 am
Mon May 23, 2011

Seasonal West Nile Virus warnings

West Nile Virus may be returning to Washington State. The recent wet spring has created an attractive habitat for mosquitoes, some of which carry West Nile.

The Washington State Department of Health is reminding people that the best way to avoid West Nile Virus is to prevent mosquito bites.

  • Use insect repellent.
  • Wear long sleeves.
  • Make sure you have screens on your windows and doors to keep mosquitoes out.
  • Remove mosquito breeding sites by getting rid of pooling, stagnant water. Common places around the home include bird baths, pet dishes, and flower pots.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's fact sheet on West Nile Virus says about one in 150 people infected with West Nile Virus will develop severe illness. The symptoms can include high fever, headache, and convulsions. These symptoms may last several weeks, and neurological effects may be permanent. Up to 20 percent of the people who become infected experience milder symptoms. And approximately 80 percent of people who are infected with West Nile Virus will not show any symptoms at all.

Most of the signs of West Nile Virus here have been in Central and Eastern Washington. Last year, there were two recorded cases in our state.