Cases of West Nile virus are frequently reported in the news.  Since 1999, 27,000 cases of West Nile virus have been reported in the USA.  Mosquitoes pick up the virus by biting birds infected with the virus, and then passing the virus on to humans and livestock. According to WebMD, about 80 out of 100 people who have West Nile virus have no symptoms. When symptoms do appear, they begin 3 to 14 days after the mosquito bite. However, for those who have symptoms, may experience a fever, headaches, body aches, fatigue, nausea, or pain in the eyes.  In rare cases, West Nile virus can lead to swelling of the brain (encephalitis), swelling of the tissues around the brain and spinal cord (meningitis) which can lead to seizures, memory loss, and brain damage.

To lower the risk of getting bit by mosquitoes, consider the following suggestions from WebMD:

  1. Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants if you know that you will be in areas with lots of mosquitoes or where you know West Nile virus is prevalent.
  2. Do not leave puddles or open containers of water near your house, because mosquitoes breed in standing water.
  3. Stay indoors at dawn, dusk, and in the early evening when mosquitoes are the most active.
  4. Use insect repellent when you go outdoors in the late spring, summer, and early fall.
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