South Texas Veterans Health Care System (STVHCS)
Be Informed: West Nile Virus
Several cases of West Nile Virus (WNV) have been detected in the San Antonio area within the past several weeks. Of the 693 cases reported to the CDC in 2012, almost half have been from Texas. This is the highest number of WNV cases reported to CDC since WNV was first detected in the US in 1999.
What Do I Need to Know?
WNV is spread by the bite of an infected mosquito. There is no recorded proof of it being passed from person to person, animal to animal, or animal to person.
Most people are asymptomatic (80% or more) when infected with WNV, but some people can develop symptoms of meningitis and encephalitis (headache, fever, confusion, altered mental status). Anyone who experiences any of these symptoms should consult their primary care provider immediately. This is especially important if your time is spent outside and/or near bodies of water.
Reducing your chance of bites by infected mosquitos will also decrease your risk of getting sick from WNV.
YOU CAN PROTECT YOURSELF BY FOLLOWING THE 4 D'S:
DUSK and DAWN are good times to stay indoors. This is when mosquitos are most active. Replace outdoor lights with yellow "bug" lights which tend to attract fewer mosquitos, however yellow lights are NOT insect repellents.
DRESS to protect yourself if you are outside. Wear long pants and long sleeved shirts.
DEET - insect repellents containing DEET should be applied to both exposed skin and clothing. Mosquitos may be able to bite through thin clothing, so be sure to spray your clothing and follow the directions on your insect repellent.
DRAIN any stagnant/standing water that can serve as breeding grounds for mosquitos. This includes water clogged gutters, pet bowls, flowerpot trays, open rain barrels or any containter that catches and holds water. If you have water features, ensure the water is constantly flowing or circulating.
For more information, here is a CDC fact sheet: http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvbid/westnile/resources/WNV_factsheet.pdf