Preventing mosquito bites is best way to protect against West Nile virus

Preventing mosquito bites protects against West Nile

Dr. Blaise Congeni, director of Akron Children's Division of Pediatric Infectious Disease


Mosquitoes are one of the least pleasant aspects of summer and can be a real annoyance to hikers, campers and kids simply having fun in the backyard.

Mosquito bites not only sting, they come with the fear of infection, including the West Nile virus.

In a video from Akron Children’s Hospital, Blaise Congeni, MD, director of Infectious Disease, discusses West Nile Virus which, in rare cases, can affect the brain and central nervous system.

“Symptoms can include fever, muscle aches and headache,” said Dr. Congeni. “As the disease severity progresses, the headache becomes much more intense. There is also the potential for stiff neck, paralysis and weakness that is profound.”

Dr. Congeni said cases of West Nile virus are more likely to occur in late summer and that dusk is a favorite “feeding time” for mosquitoes.

The best way to prevent West Nile Virus is to apply a mosquito repellent containing the chemical, DEET. However, DEET should not be applied to infants under 2 months of age.

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News Facts
  • Less than 1% of mosquitoes in any area where carrier mosquitoes have been found are actually infected with West Nile virus.
  • Fewer than 1% of people who are bitten and infected with West Nile virus will become seriously ill.
  • West Nile virus is not transmitted from person to person.
  • Individuals at greatest risk of West Nile virus are older than 50.
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