The Infection Control Department wants to relay some helpful information regarding the West Nile Virus. Since there is no treatment other than supportive for a severe case of West Nile virus infection, prevention is key to averting the disease altogether. Persons most at risk for serious complications from West Nile virus are people over 50 years or those who are immune compromised. (FYI-Horses are particularly at risk as well.)
Dr. Calvin Johnson, Secretary of the Pa Department of Health recommends the following actions:
- Screens should fit tightly over doors and windows to keep virus-carrying mosquitoes out
- If not too hot outside, wear long-sleeved shirts, long pants and socks which maximizes barrier protection.
- Avoid being outdoors at dawn and dusk (April to October are usually the highest mosquito months), or in areas that have known large numbers of mosquitoes
- Use insect repellents according the manufacturer's instructions. DEET is a repellant that is effective in keeping mosquitoes from biting. It works in a manner that interferes with the mosquitoes ability to "locate" our skin by confusing the senses of the mosquito that detect skin odors and carbon dioxide that we produce. DEET does not kill mosquitoes. DEET does also repel ticks.
- Remove standing water at least once to twice a week by draining containers, bird baths, ceramic pots, old tires, clogged roof gutters, unchlorinated swimming pools, wheelbarrows, and recycling containers. Mosquitoes can breed in any standing water that last more than 4 days.
Information relative to DEET use.
- DEET containing products include the chemical names N,N-diethyl-m-toluamide or N,N-diethyl-3-methylbenamide.
- Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Parents/Guardians of children under 3 years of age need to consult with their Pediatrician for instructions on repellent use. Some information can be obtained through the National Pesticide Information Center (NPIC) at 1-800-858-7378.
- Higher DEET containing products do not provide better protection. The higher the DEET percentage the longer the protection.
- 23.8% DEET provides an average 5 hours
- 20% DEET provides about 4 hours
- 6.65% DEET provides about 2 hours
- 4.75% DEET and 2 % soybean oil provides about 1.5 hours
- CDC supports the use of insect repellants and sunscreen products for use together if the situation warrants.