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8 ways to protect against West Nile Virus

Most West Nile Virus is transmitted by infected mosquitoes.
Most West Nile Virus is transmitted by infected mosquitoes.

Two new cases of West Nile Virus in humans were reported in Los Angeles County in the week preceding Aug. 15, 2014, bringing the total reported cases to three for 2014. There were no fatalities.

West Nile Virus is spread by infected mosquitoes, blood transfusions, transplants, and very rarely from a mother to her unborn child, according to the California Public Health West Nile Virus website. Symptoms develop three to 14 days following a bite from an infected mosquito and while they vary, often mimic the flu.

About 80 percent of infected people show no symptoms, and about 20 percent may have fever, headache, body aches, nausea, vomiting, and sometimes swollen lymph glands or a skin rash on the chest, stomach and back. Symptoms generally last for just a few days. About 1 in 150 infected people develop severe symptoms, which may include high fever, headache, neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness, vision loss, numbness and paralysis.

8 ways to protect against West Nile Virus

  1. Dump or drain any water that has been standing for more than three days, including pet dishes, birdbaths, planters, and outdoor equipment.
  2. Regularly check outside water features for larvae.
  3. Keep swimming pools clean. Unused pools should be drained.
  4. Repair broken or torn screens on windows and doors.
  5. Stay indoors and dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are most active.
  6. Use a repellent containing the active ingredients DEET, Picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, or IR3535 before going outdoors.
  7. Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants when in areas likely to be inhabited by mosquitoes.
  8. Report dead birds and squirrels on your property to the West Nile Virus and Dead Bird Hotline, (877) 968-2473 or online at

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