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West Nile Virus Facts

West Nile virus is spread by the bite of an infected mosquito, and can infect people, horses, many types of birds, and some other animals. Most people who become infected with West Nile virus will have either no symptoms or only mild ones. However, on rare occasions, West Nile virus infection can result in severe and sometimes fatal illnesses. There is no evidence to suggest that West Nile virus can be spread from person to person or from animal to person. The virus spread rapidly south and west throughout 2002, and in 2003 West Nile virus made it's way across the entire country.

Integrated Mosquito Management
A responsible approach to pest management involves integrated Pest Management (IPM) as an effective strategy for treating pests. IPM involves monitoring and evaluating pest problems before using management or control options. A variety of techniques may be employed in an IPM system, including biological, chemical, cultural, manual and mechanical management methods.

IMM: An effective and environmentally sensitive approach used to manage mosquitoes, relying on a combination of scientific knowledge and common sense.

>Integrated pest management (IPM)
>safe use of pesticides
>Pesticides and Public Health: Integrated Methods of Mosquito Management

Prevention
Human illness from West Nile virus is rare, even in areas where the virus has been reported. The chance that any one person is going to become ill from a mosquito bite is low. You can further reduce your chances of becoming ill by protecting yourself from mosquito bites. For tips on how to avoid mosquito bites check out the links below.

While risks to the average person of contracting WNV may in fact be low, the risks are still real, deadly and documented. The products used today to combat mosquitoes have been thoroughly tested and pose little to no risk to our health or the environment when used according to label directions.

>insect repellent use and safety from the CDC
>EPA's using insect repellent safely

Transmission
West Nile Virus (WNV) is transmitted through the bite of a mosquito and can be fatal. It poses a serious threat to public health, particularly to those with weakened immune systems - such as the elderly, young or those with immuno-compromising diseases. Click on the link below to view a graphic of how the virus is transmitted.

Tips for Avoiding West Nile Virus
Cases of West Nile virus are predicted to increase during this mosquito season. Dr. Kim Thompson, a specialist in risk analysis at the Harvard School of Public Health, warns that people need to be vigilant in taking precautions against mosquitoes, which may be carrying the disease. Click here for 10 tips to avoid mosquito bites and infection of West Nile Virus

"Contrary to the environmentalist view, public health campaigns that use insecticides against diseases have a remarkable record of public safety and a a remarkable record of protecting humans from insect-borne diseases." Dr. Donald Roberts, professor of tropical public health, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences.

Overall, spraying to control adult mosquitoes in combination with other integrated mosquito management techniques is highly effective. A November 2002 Harvard School of Public Health survey shows 9 out of 10 people in high-mosquito areas of the country favor spraying against mosquitoes to prevent the spread of West Nile virus. Click here for more from the experts or read our Q&A on spraying. Concerned about spraying in your neighborhood? Arm yourself with the facts.

"Basically they're safe and the risks they present are outweighed by the benefits of reducing the mosquito population." Julie Gerberding, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on the use of pesticides. For more on mosquito control, click here.

 

>Some questions and answers about West Nile Virus