Prevention of West Nile Virus Begins With Protecting Yourself
North Dakota Health & Human Services (NDHHS) reminds residents that preventing mosquito bites is the most effective way to avoid West Nile virus (WNV) disease. Last year, one case of human WNV from Sargent County was reported to NDHHS. The individual was not hospitalized.
People get WNV through the bite of an infected mosquito. There is no human vaccine for WNV and there are no specific treatments for the disease, so it is important to protect yourself and your family from mosquito bites.
NDHHS recommends residents take these precautions to avoid mosquito bites:
- Use insect repellent registered with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that contain ingredients such as DEET, picaridin, IR3535, oil of lemon eucalyptus, para-menthane-diol (PMD), 2-undecanone and permethrin (clothing only). Always follow the directions on the manufacturer’s label for safe and effective use.
- Wear protective clothing outdoors such as long-sleeved shirts, long pants and socks.
- Limit outdoor activities between dusk and dawn when mosquitoes that can carry WNV are most likely to bite.
- Eliminate stagnant water in containers around homes where mosquitoes can lay their eggs (e.g., gutters, buckets, flowerpots, old tires, wading pools and birdbaths).
- Install or repair screens on windows and doors to keep mosquitoes out of your residence.
- Maintain a well-trimmed yard and landscape around your home.
Most people infected with West Nile virus experience no symptoms. Those who develop symptoms will commonly report fever, headache, body/joint aches or rash. People who develop severe illness may experience stiff neck, altered mental status, paralysis, coma and possibly death. People over 60 years of age, or those who have underlying health issues, are at greater risk for developing West Nile neuroinvasive disease. In 2020, there were seven North Dakota residents with WNV disease – one was hospitalized and no one died.
For more information about West Nile virus and mosquito bite prevention, visit hhs.nd.gov/wnv.