Five Common Myths about West Nile Virus

West Nile Virus is spread by mosquitoes. Infection with the virus can cause severe and sometimes fatal illness. There were over 4000 cases of West Nile disease in the US during 2002, including 284 deaths. It is likely that all mainland states in the United States will see West Nile virus activity in 2003.

To help you prepare for mosquito season, read the truth about some common West Nile virus myths:

West Nile Virus Protection

Myth #1: There's not much I can do about West Nile virus.

Truth: There is a lot that you, personally, can do to reduce your chance of West Nile virus infection.

  • Reduce the number of mosquito bites you get. Make a habit of using insect repellent with DEET when outdoors. Spray repellent on exposed skin and clothing. Get the details about safe repellent use.
  • Prime mosquito-biting hours are usually dusk to dawn. Pay special attention to protection during these hours, or avoid being outdoors.
  • You can reduce the number of mosquitoes around your home. Mosquitoes breed in standing water, so check your yard once a week: get rid of containers that aren't being used, empty water from flower pots, change water in bird baths and maintain clean gutters.
  • Make sure window and door screens are in good condition. Have an older neighbor or family member? See if they need help installing or repairing screens.