West Nile Virus is spread by the bite of certain types of mosquitoes. Most people who are infected experience no illness or mild flu-like symptoms. In rare cases, West Nile Virus can affect the brain and cause people to become seriously sick.
Who’s at Risk?
Mosquitoes that spread West Nile Virus are commonly found throughout Chatham-Kent. CK Public Health monitors mosquito populations in traps throughout the region for West Nile Virus. We often find mosquitoes infected with West Nile Virus during the summer months.
Anyone who spends time outdoors can get West Nile Virus. Certain people may be more likely to experience serious illness, including older adults and people with chronic health conditions.
Things You Can Do
What You Can Do to Protect Yourself
Cover up and clean up to reduce your risk of West Nile Virus and protect others from getting sick too!
Mosquitoes that spread West Nile Virus like to bite between dusk and dawn. You can protect yourself by staying indoors while mosquitoes are most active. If you do spend time outdoors:
- Wear long-sleeved shirts and pants
- Use insect repellent with DEET or Icaridin
Mosquitoes that spread West Nile Virus breed in shallow, standing water. You can reduce the number of mosquitoes on your property and your risk of West Nile Virus by getting rid of places where mosquitos breed:
- Clean birdbaths weekly
- Maintain ornamental ponds and aerate them or stock them with larvae-eating fish
- Cover or turn over toys and equipment that can hold water
- Drill holes in the bottoms of containers that cannot be removed
- Place screens over rain barrels
- Fill hollow tree stumps and rot holes that hold water with sand or concrete
- Do not allow water to collect on pool covers
- Clean and chlorinate swimming pools and hot tubs
- Empty wading pools when they are not in use
- Clean roof gutters and remove standing water from flat roofs
- Cut the grass and reduce excess vegetation where mosquitoes seek shelter during the day
You can also report standing water to CK Public Health. A public health inspector will follow up with you.
Symptoms of West Nile Virus
Most people who get West Nile Virus do not have symptoms. For people who do, symptoms appear 2 to 15 days after being bitten by an infected mosquito.
The most common symptoms of West Nile Virus, which are normally mild, include:
- body ache
- rash on chest, stomach or back
In rare cases, people can experience more serious illness. Symptoms can include:
- high fever
- severe headache
- muscle weakness
- stiff neck
- sensitivity to light
If You Think You Have West Nile Virus
If you think you have West Nile Virus, see your healthcare provider. Most people who get West Nile Virus recover completely. If you have questions or concerns, you can always contact CK Public Health. A public health inspector will follow up with you.