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Prevention of West Nile Virus FAQs

1.  What can be done to prevent outbreaks of West Nile Virus?

Prevention and control of West Nile Virus and other arboviral diseases is most effectively accomplished through integrated vector management programs. The L.A. County West Vector Control District maintains such programs including: surveillance for West Nile Virus activity in mosquito vectors, birds, and sentinel chickenflocks; and the implementation of appropriate mosquito control measures to reduce mosquitopopulations.

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2.  Is there a human vaccine against West Nile Encephalitis?

No, but several companies are working towards developing a vaccine.

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3.  What can I do to reduce my risk of becoming infected with West Nile Virus?

  • Stay indoors at dawn, dusk, and in the early evening.

  • Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants whenever you are outdoors.

  • Spray clothing with repellents containing permethrin or DEET since mosquitoes may bite through thin clothing.

  • Apply insect repellent sparingly to exposed skin. An effective repellent will contain up to 35% DEET (N, N-diethyl-meta-toluamide). DEET in high concentrations (greater than 35%) provides no additional protection.

  • Repellents may irritate the eyes and mouth, so avoid applying repellent to the hands of children.
  • Whenever you use an insecticide or insect repellent, be sure to read and follow the manufacturer's DIRECTIONS FOR USE, as printed on the product.
  • Install or repair window and door screens so that mosquitoes cannot get indoors.

Note: Vitamin B and "ultrasonic" devices are NOT effective in preventing mosquito bites.

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4.  Where can I get more information on mosquito repellents?

Visit the American College of Physicians website: "Mosquitoes and mosquito repellents: A clinician's guide" (Mark S. Fradin, MD. Annals of Internal Medicine. June 1, 1998; 128:931-940). You can also find information on insect repellents containing DEET at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) website. Another good source of information about pesticides and repellents is the National Pesticide Information Center, which also operates a toll-free information line: 1-800-858-7378 (check their website for hours).

(Information on this page obtained from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

For West Nile Virus information updates call toll free: 877-WNV-BIRD (877-968-2473)

Centers for Disease Control information on West Nile Virus

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