- What are the symptoms of WNV infection? Approximately 80% of people who are infected with West Nile virus do not have any symptoms. Up to 20% of people who become infected have mild symptoms such as fever, headache, and body aches that last a few days to several weeks. About 1 in 150 people infected with West Nile virus (less than 1%) develop severe illness, and symptoms can include high fever, headache, disorientation, coma, numbness and paralysis. These symptoms may last several weeks, and neurological effects may be permanent. Severe illness can also result in death.
- What is the risk of getting sick from WNV infection? Anyone living in an area where WNV is present can be infected and experience serious illness. The more time you're outdoors, the more time you could be bitten by an infected mosquito. Pay attention to preventing mosquito bites if you spend time outside, either working or playing. Serious illness can occur in people of any age. However, those over 60 years of age are at increased risk for severe disease. People with certain medical conditions, such as cancer, diabetes, hypertension, kidney disease, and people who have received organ transplants or who have a weakened immune system, are also at greater risk for serious illness.
- What can I do to prevent WNV infection? The easiest and best way to avoid WNV illness is to prevent mosquito bites. The best preventive measures are to Drain standing water to prevent mosquito breeding around your home or business, Cover doors and windows to keep mosquitoes outside of homes and Cover skin with clothing or mosquito repellant to prevent mosquito bites. In protecting children, read label instructions to be sure the repellent is age-appropriate. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), mosquito repellents containing oil of lemon eucalyptus should not be used on children under the age of three years. DEET is not recommended on children younger than two months old. For infants less than two months old, use mosquito netting.
For more information, please visit Florida Health Department website. You may also contact your local Health Department directly at (904) 875-6100 or email Environmental Health Manager, Michael Godwin, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
County Manager's Office