“Practicing preventive measures to reduce the chance of being bitten by mosquitoes is the best way to prevent humans from contracting the virus,” Mary Anderson, a district health officer, said. “Remember to use mosquito repellent containing either DEET (Diethyl-meta-toluamide), Picaridin or Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus, be aware that mosquitoes are most active during dusk and dawn, remove standing water from around your house and check to make sure the screens on your windows and doors fit properly.”
West Nile Virus most often is spread by the bite of an infected mosquito. Mosquitoes are WNV carriers, also known as vectors. Infected mosquitoes can then spread WNV to birds, horses, humans and other animals when they bite. West Nile Virus is not spread through casual contact such as touching or kissing a person with the virus, representatives from the health department said.
Anderson also said that local horse owners should get their animals vaccinated against WNV, if they have not yet done so. While pets like dogs and cats can contract the virus, it is very unlikely, she added. Do not use repellents meant for humans on pets. Check with your veterinarian for products that are pet specific. For more information, see the health department’s Web site at www.washoecounty.us/health or to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at www.CDC.gov.