Protect yourself from West Nile virus

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HOUSTON - According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, West Nile virus, which is spread through mosquito bites, can be fended off by emptying containers that may collect rainwater and sprinkler water. Also, use insect repellent, especially when going out in the evening.

To help eliminate mosquito-breeding sites and prevent mosquito-borne diseases, residents should do the following:

  • Wear long pants and long-sleeve shirts when outdoors, particularly at dawn and dusk, when mosquitoes are most active.
  • Use insect repellent that contains DEET. Children should use insect repellents that contain less than 10 percent DEET. Do not apply DEET on babies. Adults should use insect repellents that contain more than 10 percent DEET.
  • Make sure screens on windows and doors are in good condition.
  • Keep storm sewers clean to reduce mosquito breeding.
  • Sweep up lawn clippings, leaves and limbs from sidewalks, driveways, curbs and gutters.
  • Don't let lawn water or car-washing water enter the street.
  • Pick up litter and other debris from the yard and the street.
  • Keep mosquitoes out of the house.
  • Keep doors and windows closed.
  • Seal cracks and gaps in the house.
  • If mosquitoes are in the house, use flying insect spray, following label instructions.
  • Empty, remove or dispose of anything in the yard that can hold water: flower pot saucers, cans, toys, litter, rain barrels, plastic sheeting, etc. Adult mosquitoes can hatch in 10 days in warm weather. Mosquitoes become infected and transmit WNV after feeding on birds carrying the virus. Within 10 to 14 days, the mosquito can transmit the virus to humans and horses.
  • Pet water bowls and birdbaths should be emptied and refilled at least twice a week.
  • Keep rain gutters on the house clean and properly draining.
  • Repair household water leaks and move air-conditioner drain hoses frequently.

West Nile Virus Symptoms In Humans

  • Flu-like illness, with moderate to high fever
  • Headache
  • Muscle weakness or joint pain
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Possible seizures
  • Paralysis
  • Respiratory symptoms

West Nile Virus Symptoms In Animals

  • Loss of appetite
  • Depression
  • Fever
  • Weakness
  • Convulsions

For more information about West Nile virus, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's website.

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