Raid

WEST NILE VIRUS: SYMPTOMS, TREATMENT & PREVENTION

West Nile virus is most commonly spread to humans when bitten by an infected mosquito. Learn about the symptoms of West Nile virus and how to help protect your loved ones from this mosquito-borne disease.

A close up of a mosquito biting a person's hand.

West Nile virus is spread to people when bitten by a mosquito that previously bit an infected bird. Over 150 different mosquito species are suspected of transmitting the virus, including Culex pipiens, Culex tarsalis, and Culex quinquefasciatus.1

A close up of a Culex pipiens mosquito waiting for a prey on a leaf.

 

Culex pipiens mosquito

 

A close up of a mosquito biting a person's hand.

 

Female Culex tarsalis mosquito

 

A close up of a mosquito biting a person's hand.

 

Culex quinquefasciatus mosquito

We know how important it is to protect your family from mosquito-borne diseases like West Nile virus. That’s why we’ve spent 60 years researching ways to help you combat mosquitoes at the Institute of Insect Science for Family Health Read below to learn about West Nile virus symptoms and get advice from our experts on how to help get rid of mosquitoes that may carry West Nile virus in and around your home.

Tip icon
WHERE IS WEST NILE VIRUS MOST COMMON?

West Nile virus is commonly found in Africa, Europe, the Middle East, North America, and West Asia.2 The geographic range of West Nile virus has continued to expand since it was first discovered in Uganda in 1937.3

SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF WEST NILE VIRUS4

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 80% of people who are infected do not show symptoms of West Nile virus. The other 20% of infected people will develop West Nile virus fever, along with the following symptoms:

  • Fever

  • Headache

  • Body Aches

  • Fatigue

  • Nausea

  • Vomiting

  • Swollen Lymph Nodes

  • Occasionally a Rash on the Trunk of the Body


Approximately 1 in 150 people infected with the virus will develop more severe conditions like encephalitis or meningitis. The severe symptoms of West Nile virus include:

  • Severe Headache

  • High Fever

  • Neck Stiffness

  • Muscle Weakness

  • Stupor

  • Disorientation

  • Tremors

  • Convulsions

  • Coma

  • Paralysis


Always consult your physician if you are experiencing any of these symptoms of West Nile virus.

WEST NILE VIRUS TREATMENT2,4

Unfortunately, there aren’t any antiviral medications for West Nile virus. According to the CDC, treatment for mild cases focuses on reducing fever and relieving pain with over-the-counter medication. In severe cases, treatment for West Nile virus requires hospitalization to provide patients with intravenous fluids and respiratory support, as well as to help prevent secondary infections.

HOW TO HELP AVOID WEST NILE VIRUS5

Since there isn’t a vaccine for the virus, one of the best ways to help protect your loved ones is to reduce your risk of mosquito bites. Follow these tips to help avoid bites and get rid of mosquitoes that may carry West Nile virus in and around your home.

  • Apply personal insect repellents that contain the active ingredients DEET or picaridin. Be sure to follow the instructions on the label and reapply as directed.

  • Wear pants, long-sleeve shirts, and socks to limit the amount of skin that is exposed to mosquitoes. Consider wearing clothing and gear treated with a personal repellent for an added layer of protection. Follow the label instructions carefully because some repellents should not be used with synthetic fabrics, such as rayon, spandex, and acetate.

  • Help safeguard your family while you sleep by covering cribs, beds, and strollers with mosquito nets.

  • Use screens on windows and doors and repair holes in screens to help keep mosquitoes outside.

  • Eliminate areas of standing water in and around the home and be sure to dump collected water at least once a week. Some common areas where mosquitoes lay their eggs include old tires, buckets, bird baths, and trash bins.

  • Help kill mosquitoes that may carry West Nile virus inside the home with insecticide products, including aerosols, sprays, electric liquids, electric mats, coils or foggers.

LEARN MORE ABOUT WEST NILE VIRUS

FIND SOLUTIONS FOR MOSQUITOES

We know how important it is to protect yourself and your loved ones from mosquito-borne diseases. That’s why our experts have developed a variety of products designed to help kill mosquitoes that may carry the West Nile virus.