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West Nile Virus

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Prevention and Treatment

Prevention of West Nile virus (WNV) depends upon protecting against mosquito bites by:

  • Using mosquito repellent
  • Wearing long-sleeved clothing and pants when outdoors
  • Staying indoors at dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are most active
  • Eliminating standing water sources around the home that attract mosquitoes 

Communities also take preventive measures by monitoring the seasonal risks and movement of WNV and spraying for mosquitoes as warranted.

Treatment of milder cases of West Nile virus infection currently is focused on supportive care and symptom management. In severe cases, hospitalization may be required.

No vaccine or specific antiviral drug treatment is available for humans at this time. Research and clinical testing of potential WNV vaccines are ongoing and health practitioners remain optimistic that a solution will be found. Vaccines for other flaviviruses, such as yellow fever, have been available for about 70 years and have well-established safety and efficacy records.

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