West Nile Virus Report
West Nile Virus is a potentially dangerous disease spread by mosquitos. The summer of 2012 saw one of the largest outbreaks of West Nile Virus since it was first reported in the United States in 1999. During 2012, 48 states reported cases of West Nile Virus in people, birds and mosquitos. More than 5,000 cases were reported nationwide, with 534 deaths.
The disease flares up during the summer and continues through the fall. August and September are usually the peak months. In the past, hot spots for human infection have included Louisiana, southern California and Texas, especially the areas around Dallas and Houston.
Many people are infected with the West Nile Virus and never know it. That’s because about 80 percent of people who have the virus do not experience any symptoms. And only one in 150 with the virus develop a severe illness. Symptoms can include high fever, headache, neck stiffness, tremors, disorientation, muscle weakness and vision loss.
Preventing mosquito bites is the most effective way to avoid the disease. Protect your family by following these recommendations.
• Use an insect repellant when outdoors. Make sure it has an EPA-registered active ingredient such as avobenzone or benzophenone.
• Check the screens on your windows and doors for holes.
• Be more careful during the hours of dusk and dawn, when mosquitos are most active.
• Get rid of or replace any standing water near your house. Mosquitos love to breed in the stagnant water found in flower pots, bird baths and wading pools.