West Nile virus symptoms, prevention

July 27, 2012 (CHICAGO)

  • Mild cases of West Nile infection symptoms - slight fever or headache.
  • More severe infection symptoms - rapid onset of a high fever with head and body aches, disorientation, tremors, convulsions and, in the most severe cases, paralysis or death.
  • Usually symptoms occur from three to 14 days after the bite of an infected mosquito.

    Precautions include practicing the three "R's" - reduce, repel and report.
  • REDUCE exposure - avoid being outdoors when mosquitoes are most active, especially between dusk and dawn. Make sure doors and windows have tight-fitting screens. Repair or replace screens that have tears or other openings. Try to keep doors and windows shut, especially at night. Eliminate all sources of standing water where mosquitoes can breed, including water in bird baths, ponds, flowerpots, wading pools, old tires and any other receptacles.
  • REPEL - when outdoors, wear shoes and socks, long pants and a long-sleeved shirt, and apply insect repellent that contains DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus or IR 3535, according to label instructions. Consult a physician before using repellents on infants.
  • REPORT - In communities where there are organized mosquito control programs, contact your municipal government to report dead birds and areas of stagnant water in roadside ditches, flooded yards and similar locations that may produce mosquitoes.

Additional information about West Nile virus can be found on the Illinois Department of Public Health's website at idph.state.il.us/envhealth/wnv.htm

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