Protect Yourself Against Mosquito Bites and West Nile Virus
The first confirmed human cases of West Nile Virus (WNV) were seen this year in Fond du Lac and Oconto counties in Wisconsin in mid-August. To prevent West Nile Virus, Public Health Madison & Dane County reminds people that it is important to make sure they take measures to prevent mosquito bites throughout the summer and into early fall.
West Nile Virus is spread through the bite of an infected mosquito and the majority of West Nile Virus cases in Wisconsin occur during the months of August and September. The risk of contracting WNV and other mosquito borne illnesses is present anytime mosquitoes are active.
Although few mosquitoes carry the virus, you should follow the following tips to prevent mosquito bites and eliminate breeding grounds for mosquitoes.
- Limit time spent outside at dawn and dusk, when mosquitoes are most active.
- Apply an EPA-registered insect repellant to exposed skin and clothing since mosquitoes may bite through clothing.
- Make sure window and door screens are in good repair to prevent mosquito entry.
- Properly dispose of items that hold water, such as tin cans, plastic containers, ceramic pots, or discarded tires.
- Clean roof gutters and downspouts for proper drainage.
- Turn over wheelbarrows, wading pools, boats, and canoes when not in use.
- Change the water in birdbaths and pet dishes at least every three days.
- Clean and chlorinate swimming pools, outdoor saunas, and hot tubs; drain water from pool covers.
- Trim tall grass, weeds, and vines since mosquitoes use these areas to rest during hot daylight hours.
- Landscape to prevent water from pooling in low-lying areas.
There is no specific treatment for West Nile virus other than to treat symptoms. If you think you have West Nile virus infection, contact your healthcare provider.