West Nile Virus

Is it Still a Threat?


Though it may not be talked about in the news as much anymore, there are still reported cases of West Nile virus in most of the United States. The main cause of the infection is through a mosquito bite, so the best way to protect yourself is to avoid getting bit. Here are the facts.

What is West Nile Virus

As many people know, getting bit by a mosquito often leads to an itchy bump at the site. The level of itch and size of the bump varies from person to person, but it often goes away after a few days and application of itch cream.

However, some mosquitoes carry the West Nile Virus. Most people don’t show any symptoms. In some cases, bites from infected pests lead to more severe reactions, such as headache, fever, weakness, and tremors. The most serious cases involved patients contracting West Nile encephalitis or meningitis—which leads to the inflammation of the brain. These rare cases result in a coma or paralysis.

While the mild symptoms fade after several weeks, there could be permanent neurological damage. Contact a doctor if any serious symptoms arise.

While mosquitoes can bite anyone, there’s a greater risk of complications from people over 60 years old or those with certain medical conditions that affect the immune system—such as cancer, diabetes, hypertension, kidney disease, and anyone who’s received an organ transplant.

Currently, there’s no vaccine or treatment for West Nile virus. The best way to prevent the disease is to protect yourself from mosquito bites.

Preventing Mosquito Bites

There are many ways to help prevent mosquito bites. One of the most widespread methods is insect repellent. Some are meant for exposed skin application and others are formulated for clothing. However, the most effective products are the ones EPA-registered and containing DEET, picaridin, or oil of lemon eucalyptus. Spray permethrin products on clothing to provide protection even after several washes.

Here are some other methods of bite prevention:

  • Wear long sleeves, pants, and socks outdoors. Clothing sprayed with repellent is more effective in higher-risk areas.
  • Drain standing water around your home and garden. This is the preferred environment for mosquitoes to breed.
  • Limit time outdoors between dusk and dawn—prime biting hours.
  • Repair any broken window and door screens.
  • Use mosquito nets over beds.

Certain high-risk areas are also sprayed with mosquito repellent. Contact local representatives for more information related to your area. You can also call Cardinal Lawns for more information on protecting your own yard, home, and family.

Lawn Pest Guide

Download Your FREE Lawn Pest Guide

Pests become most prevalent during the heat and humidity of summer. Take some time to learn about the signs of infestations before any damage can be caused to your landscape. This handy guide will teach you how to spot common lawn pests and how to keep them from causing harm to you and your property.