West Nile Virus is a virus transmitted from infected birds to mosquitoes when a mosquito bites an infected bird. It is then transmitted to humans when the infected female mosquito bites the human and takes a bloodmeal. Female mosquitoes must take a bloodmeal to lay their eggs. Humans are considered an incidental infection or dead-end host, which means we cannot pass the virus on to other biting mosquitoes and continue the transmission cycle. 

Most people infected with West Nile virus will either have no symptoms or mild flu like symptoms with fever, aches, headache, and fatigue with recovery in a few days. A small percentage, 1 in 150 people, can develop more serious conditions that can lead to encephalitis with symptoms such as tremors, convulsions, paralysis and even death. There is no treatment or vaccine for humans.

Common Mosquito Breeding Places

Mosquitoes lay their eggs in standing water. At least once a week, drain and scrub, turn over, cover, or throw out items that hold water.

Dump It – Dump water from buckets, flowerpots, kiddie pools, old tires, and other containers. Even a small amount of water in any of those containers can breed thousands of mosquitoes. 

Drain It – Trash cans and other containers left outside may hold water. Drill small holes in the bottom of these containers so water can drain out. 

Treat It – Birdbaths, ponds, ditches, and low spots where standing water cannot be removed can be treated with Bti products which are available at outdoor, lawn and garden, home improvement, and other retail stores. Bti is safe for kids, pets, and plants. 

Other areas around the home to check are gutters (which can hold debris and water), swimming pools that are left untreated, and tarps used to cover items left outdoors. Also, check windows and doors to ensure screens are free of rips and tears that can let mosquitoes enter the home. 

Beaver County Conversation District

The mission of Beaver County Conservation District provides leadership in natural resource management through outreach, education, and technical assistance. 

The Beaver County Vector-borne Disease Control Program monitors and controls mosquito populations to help protect the public from exposure to diseases like West Nile Virus. 

There are many ways to protect yourself and your property from mosquitoes and the diseases they may carry. 

Dump! Drain! Treat! 

Protect Yourself from Mosquito Bites

Clothing – Wear long sleeves, loose-fitting, light-colored clothing.

Avoid Dusk & Dawn – Mosquitoes are most active at sunset and sunrise.

Repel – Use an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) registered insect repellent. ALWAYS follow the label! 

For More Information: 

PA DEP West Nile Virus Control Program
– gis.dep.pa.gov/wnv 

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
– www.cdc.gov/westnile 

Environmental Protection Agency
– www.epa.gov/insect-repellents

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