About WEST NILE VIRUS

What is West Nile?
If you live in or around Colorado, you’ve probably heard of West Nile, but did you know that the Rocky Mountain region is the most common area for this Zoonotic disease? In fact, West Nile was seen in Colorado in 2003 and there have been many reported and unreported cases.  West Nile without question is here to stay. 
West Nile is a virus of the family Flaviviridae that spreads by the bite of infected mosquitoes. 

How do people get West Nile?
People get West Nile disease from the bite of the Culex mosquito that is infected with West Nile virus. A mosquito becomes infected by biting a bird that carries the virus. West Nile virus is not spread by person-to-person contact or directly from birds to people.

What are the signs and symptoms of West Nile?
Most people who are infected experience mild signs such as fever and headache.  More sever signs include (usually elderly individuals) West Nile encephalitis (inflammation of the brain).        
     
What is the treatment for West Nile?

There is no specific therapy for West Nile disease. In more severe cases, intensive supportive therapy (hospitalization, intravenous (IV) fluids, airway management, respiratory support such as ventilators are used). Prevention of secondary infections (pneumonia, urinary tract, etc.) is also optional.

How can West Nile be prevented?
The best way to prevent West Nile disease or any other mosquito-borne illness is to reduce the number of mosquitoes around your home and neighborhood and to take personal precautions to avoid mosquito bites. Here are some suggestions:
·         Avoid being outdoors when mosquitoes are most active, especially between dusk and dawn.
·         When outdoors, wear shoes and socks, long pants and a long-sleeved shirt, and apply insect repellent that      Includes DEET, picaridin or oil of lemon eucalyptus according to label instructions. Consult a physician before using repellents on infants.
·         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 that can support mosquito breeding, including water in bird baths,       ponds, flowerpots, wading pools, old tires and any other receptacles. In communities where there are      organized mosquito control programs, contact your municipal government to report areas of stagnant water in roadside ditches, flooded yards and similar locations that may produce mosquitoes.

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