West Nile Virus: Fight the Bite


Information lines:
English: 970-248-6918
En Español: 970-255-5055

West Nile Virus Risk

  • Only certain types of mosquitoes transmit the virus.
  • Most people will not become ill.
  • Everyone is at risk, but people over 50 seem to be especially vulnerable to severe forms of the disease.

People with these symptoms need to seek medical attention immediately.
  • Symptoms generally appear 3-14 days after exposure.
  • Most mild symptoms include: fever, headache, body aches, and occasionally rashes or swollen lymph nodes.
  • This virus can cause serious illnesses including encephalitis (swelling of the brain) and/or meningitis (swelling of the brain's lining).
  • Severe symptoms may include high fever, severe headache, neck stiffness, muscle weakness and tremors, disorientation, convulsions and coma.
  • Severe infections can result in permanent brain damage or, in rare cases, even death.
If you have questions about WNV symptoms please call (970) 248-6900.

Insect Repellent

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states the most effective insect repellents contain one of the following ingredients:
  • DEET (N,N-diethyl-m-toluamide)
  • Picaridin (KBR 3023)
  • Oil of lemon eucalyptus [p-menthane 3,8-diol (PMD)]
General Considerations for Using Products Containing DEET Safely:
  • Follow instructions on product label.
  • Cover exposed skin or clothing. Don't apply repellent under clothing.
  • Do not apply repellent to cuts, wounds, or irritated skin.
  • Wash treated skin with soap and water after returning indoors.
  • Do not spray aerosol or pump products in enclosed areas.
  • Do not apply aerosol or pump products directly to your face. Spray your hands and then rub them carefully over the face, avoiding eyes and mouth.

Choose a repellent based on how long you will be outdoors.

People hiking, camping, hunting and fishing need to take special precautions. Be prepared with insect repellent, protective clothing, mosquito netting and the shelter of your car or tent.

Personal Protection
  • Limit time spent outdoors at dawn or dusk.
  • Wear lightweight, long-sleeved shirts and long pants while outdoors.
  • Spray clothing with insect repellent containing DEET.
  • Apply insect repellent sparingly to exposed skin (35 percent DEET or 10 percent DEET or less for children).
  • Always read and follow product directions.
  • Install or repair window and door screens to keep mosquitoes out.
Mosquito Control

Here are some effective things YOU can do:
  • Remove standing water where possible. **
  • Check water in birdbaths, pots, pools, etc. weekly for mosquito larvae. Empty the water if they are present.
  • Stock ornamental ponds, fountains and livestock water tanks with fish that eat mosquito larvae.
  • Do not over water lawns and gardens.
** If standing water cannot be removed, treat it with Larvicide. This is a natural bacteria that kills larvae and it can be purchased at garden and home stores or feed and supply stores.

To issue a complaint or concern regarding standing water, please call the Health Department at (970) 244-3247.

Defend Yourself

DRAIN standing water around the house weekly. This is where mosquitoes lay eggs, including: tires, cans, flowerpots, clogged rain gutters, rain barrels, toys and puddles.
DUSK & DAWN are when mosquitoes that carry the virus are most active, so limit outdoor activities or take precautions to prevent mosquito bites.
DEET is an effective ingredient to look for in insect repellents. Always follow label instructions carefully.
DRESS in long sleeves and pants during dawn and dusk or in areas where mosquitoes are active.

Reporting Dead Birds

  • Mesa County Health Department will be testing specific dead birds.
  • Only crows, ravens, magpies and jays will be considered for West Nile virus testing.
  • To report a dead bird, please call the Mesa County Health Department at (970) 248-6960.

Disclaimer and Reproduction Information: Information in NASD does not represent NIOSH policy. Information included in NASD appears by permission of the author and/or copyright holder. More