West Nile Virus. Frequently Asked Questions

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1 Ministry f Health and Scial Slidarity West Nile Virus Frequently Asked Questins What is West Nile virus infectin? West Nile Virus infectin is a disease transmitted by msquites that carry the virus. The virus can infect humans, birds, msquites, hrses and many ther mammals. Hw des West Nile virus spread? Infected msquites. West Nile Virus is primarily spread by the bite f an infected msquit. Msquites becme infected when they feed n infected birds. Transfusins, transplants. In a very small number f cases, West Nile Virus has als been transmitted thrugh bld transfusins, rgan transplants, breastfeeding and during pregnancy frm mther t baby. N persn t persn transmissin. West Nile Virus is nt spread thrugh casual cntact (tuching r kissing) r sexual cntact. What are the symptms f West Nile virus infectin? It is estimated that abut 80% f persns wh becme infected with West Nile virus will be asymptmatic, 20% f persns wh becme infected will develp West Nile fever, while severe West Nile disease, such as meningitis r encephalitis, may develp less than 1% f thse wh get infected. N symptms in mst peple. Apprximately 80% f peple (abut 4 ut f 5) wh are infected with West Nile Virus will nt shw any symptms at all. Milder symptms in sme peple. Up t 20% f the peple wh becme infected have symptms such as fever, headache, and bdy aches, nausea, vmiting, and smetimes swllen lymph glands r a skin

2 rash n the chest, stmach and back. Symptms can last fr as shrt as a few days (4-7 days). Serius symptms in a few peple. Occasinally, an infected persn may develp mre severe disease such as West Nile encephalitis, West Nile meningitis r West Nile meningencephalitis. Less than ne in 100 peple infected with West Nile Virus will develp severe illness (persns ver 50 years f age have the highest risk f severe disease). The severe symptms can include high fever, headache, neck stiffness, stupr, disrientatin, cma, tremrs, cnvulsins, muscle weakness, visin lss, numbness and paralysis. Hw sn d infected peple develp symptms? Peple typically develp symptms between 2 and 14 days (incubatin perid) after they are bitten by the infected msquit. Hw lng d symptms last? Symptms f West Nile virus infectin will generally last a few days, althugh even sme healthy peple reprt having the illness last fr several weeks. The symptms f severe disease (encephalitis r meningitis) may last several weeks. Hw is West Nile virus infectin treated? There is n specific treatment fr West Nile Virus infectin. In cases with milder symptms, peple experience symptms such as fever and aches that pass n their wn. In mre severe cases, peple usually need t g t the hspital where they can receive supprtive treatment including intravenus fluids, xygen and nursing care. Is there a vaccine available t prtect humans frm West Nile virus? Currently there is n West Nile vaccine available fr humans. Why it is called West Nile virus? Because West Nile virus was first islated in the West Nile prvince f Uganda in Where has West Nile virus infectin ccurred wrldwide? West Nile virus has emerged in recent years in Africa, the Middle East (Israel), Asia, Oceania, temperate regins f Eurpe and Nrth America, presenting a threat t public and animal health. In the U.S. since 1999, West Nile virus

3 human, bird, veterinary r msquit activity have been reprted frm all states except Hawaii, Alaska, and Oregn. Since the first large utbreak f West Nile fever in Rmania in 1996, spradic cases have been reprted in several EU cuntries (Rmania, Italy, Hungary, Czech Republic, Prtugal, France, Spain). Rmania reprts cases annually. In 2009 Italy reprted spradic cases. In Eurpe cases f West Nile virus have als been detected ccasinally in hrses and wild birds. What is the risk f getting sick frm West Nile virus thrugh bld transfusin r transplant? The risk f getting West Nile virus thrugh bld transfusins and rgan transplants is very lw. What can I d t reduce my risk f becming infected with West Nile virus? Prtect yurself frm msquit bites Apply insect repellent t expsed skin r t clthing Generally, the mre active ingredient a repellent cntains the lnger it can prtect yu frm msquit bites. A higher percentage f active ingredient in a repellent des nt mean that yur prtectin is better just that it will last lnger. Chse a repellent that prvides prtectin fr the amunt f time that yu will be utdrs. The active ingredient in a repellent repels but des nt kill insects. Prducts cntaining the fllwing active ingredients typically prvide reasnably lng-lasting prtectin: DEET (N,N-diethyl-3- methylbenzamide), IR3535 (3-[N-acetyl-N-butyl]-aminprpinic acid ethyl ester) r Icaridin (1-piperidinecarbxylic acid, 2-(2-hydrxyethyl)-1- methylprpylester), il f lemn eucalyptus r PMD (prtectin similar t repellents with lw cncentratins f DEET). In general, higher cncentratins f active ingredient prvide lnger duratin f prtectin, regardless f the active ingredient. Prducts with 10% active ingredient may ffer nly limited prtectin, ften frm 1 2 hurs. Repeated applicatins may be required every 3 4 h, especially in ht and humid climates when sweating may be prfuse.

4 Mst repellents can be used n children >2 mnths f age. Prtect infants<2 mnths f age frm msquites by using an infant carrier draped with msquit netting with an elastic edge fr a tight fit. Prducts cntaining il f lemn eucalyptus specify that they shuld nt be used n children <3 years f age. Apply sunscreen first, befre applying the repellent. Prducts that cmbine sunscreen and repellent are nt recmmended, because sunscreen may need t be reapplied with greater frequency and in greater amunts than needed t prvide prtectin frm biting insects. Repellents may irritate the eyes and muth. Spray clthing with repellents cntaining permethrin since msquites may bite thrugh thin clthing. D nt apply repellents cntaining permethrin directly t expsed skin. D nt apply repellent t skin under yur clthing. Repellents shuld be used in strict accrdance with the manufacturers instructins and the dsage must nt be exceeded, especially fr yung children and pregnant wmen. Wear lng-sleeved shirts and lng pants whenever yu are utdrs. Cnsider staying indrs at dawn, dusk, and in the early evening, which are peak msquit biting times. Reduce the number f msquites indrs Install r repair windw and dr screens s that msquites cannt get indrs. Air-cnditining is a highly effective means f keeping msquites and ther insects ut f a rm as lng as the rm has n gaps arund windws r drs. Msquit nets are excellent means f persnal prtectin while sleeping. Nets can be used either with r withut insecticide treatment. Msquit cils are the best knwn example f insecticide vaprizer, usually with a synthetic pyrethrid as the active ingredient. One cil serves a nrmal bedrm thrugh the night, unless the rm is particularly draughty.

5 Aersl sprays intended t kill flying insects are effective fr quick knckdwn and killing. Indr sleeping areas shuld be sprayed befre bedtime. Spraying cmbined with the use f a cil, a vaprizer r a msquit net is recmmended. Reduce the number f msquites in areas utdrs where yu wrk r play, by draining surces f standing water. In this way, yu reduce the number f places msquites can lay their eggs and breed. Place msquit netting ver infant carriers when yu are utdrs with infants. At least nce r twice a week, empty water frm flwer pts, pet fd and water dishes, birdbaths, swimming pl cvers, buckets, barrels, and cans. Check fr clgged rain gutters and clean them ut. Remve discarded tires, and ther items that culd cllect water. Be sure t check fr cntainers r trash in places that may be hard t see, such as under bushes r under yur hme.

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