West Nile virus is transmitted to humans by the bites of infected mosquitoes that become infected after feeding on birds carrying the disease.
Mosquitoes become infected when they feed on infected birds, which may circulate the virus in their blood for a few days.
The virus is located in the mosquito’s salivary glands. During blood feeding, the virus may be injected into humans, where it can multiply and possibly cause illness.
Most people who become infected with West Nile virus will have either no symptoms or only mild ones.
The chance that any one person is going to become ill from a mosquito bite is low. However, on rare occasions, West Nile virus infection can result in severe and sometimes fatal illness.
Wasco and Sherman counties no longer spray for mosquitoes; however, there are precautions you can take to protect yourself and your family:
- Be cautious during outdoor activities at dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active.
- Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants when in mosquito infested areas.
- Use mosquito repellents containing DEET; follow the directions on the container.
- Screen all doors and windows.
- Get rid of old tires and other containers around your home where water can accumulate and serve as a breeding ground for mosquitoes.
Protecting yourself from Ticks and Mosquitoes
Outdoor workers may be exposed to vector-borne diseases spread from bites of infected ticks and mosquitoes. Ticks and mosquitoes may carry bacteria, parasites or viruses.
One of the most common tick-borne diseases in the United States is Lyme disease. Ticks are found in wooded areas, high grass, or leaf litter. They are most active during the spring, summer and fall, but in warmer areas may be active all year round.
One of the most common diseases carried by mosquitoes in the United States is West Nile virus infection. Mosquitoes may be found near standing water, or in weedy or wooded areas. They are usually most active during dawn and dusk in the warmer months.
Symptoms of Vector-borne Diseases
- Body/muscle aches
- Joint pain
- Stiff neck
Decrease tick population:
- Remove leaf liter.
- Remove, mow, or cut back tall grass and brush.
- Discourage deer activity.
Decrease mosquito population:
- Eliminate standing water to s:
- Remove, turnover, cover, or store equipment.
- Remove debris from ditches.
- Fill in areas that collect standing water.
- Place drain holes in containers that collect water and cannot be discarded.
- Wear a hat and light-colored clothing (so ticks can be easily spotted), including long-sleeved shirts and long pants tucked into boots or socks.
- Use insect repellents. Use repellents containing 20-50% DEET on exposed skin and clothing.
- Reapply repellents as needed. (Always follow products label.)
- Use insecticides such as permethrin for greater protection. Permethrin can be used on clothing, but not on skin.
- One application to pants, socks, and shoes may be effective through several washings.
- Check skin for ticks daily. Check hair, underarms, and groin.
- Immediately remove ticks using fine-tipped tweezers. Grasp the tick firmly, as close to your skin as possible.
- Pull the tick’s body away from your skin with a steady motion.
- Clean the area with soap and water.
- Wash and dry work clothes using the “hot” settings to kill any ticks present.
- If you develop symptoms of a vector-borne disease, seek medical attention promptly. Tell your doctor that you work outdoors and report any tick or mosquito bites.