West Nile Virus – Protection and Prevention

Signs and Systems of West Nile Virus Illness:

  • West Nile Fever
  • West Nile Neuroinvasive Disease

 Clinical manifestation of West Nile Virus:

    • Encephalitis
    • Meningitis
  • Asymmetric Flaccid Paralysis

Definitive diagnosis is by laboratory testing –Peripheral Blood Testing for IgM EIA for West Nile Virus and Nucleic Acid Amplification Test for West Nile Virus

Repellants for Use on Skin and Clothing:

CDC/DSHS (Center for Disease Control/Department of State Health Services) recommend the use of products registered by the EPA (Environment Protection Agency) for use as repellents applied to skin and clothing.  EPA registration indicates the materials have been reviewed and approved for efficacy and human safety when applied according to the instructions on the label.


Products containing these active ingredients typically provide reasonably long-lasting protection:

– DEET (Chemical Name: N,N-diethyl-m-toluamide or N,Ndiethly-3-methyl-benzamide)

– Picaridin (KBR 3023, Chemical Name: 2-(2-hydroxyethyl)-1-piperidinecarboxylic acid 1-methylpropyl ester )

– Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus* or PMD (Chemical Name:para-Menthane-3,8-diol) the synthesized version of oil of lemon eucalyptus

– IR3535 (Chemical Name: 3-[N-Butyl-N-acetyl]-aminopropionic acid, ethyl ester)


In general, higher concentrations of active ingredient provide longer duration of protection.

      Concentrations above ~50% do not offer a marked increase in protection time.

      Products with <10% active ingredient may offer only limited protection, often from 1-2 hours.


Regardless of what product you use, if you start to get mosquito bites, reapply the repellent according to the label instructions or remove yourself from the area with biting insects if possible.


Repellants for Use on Clothing

      Permethrin is recommended for use on clothing, shoes, bed nets, and camping gear.

      Highly effective as an insecticide and as a repellent.


EPA Precautions

      Apply repellents only to exposed skin and/or clothing (as directed on the product label). Do not use repellents under clothing.

      Never use repellents over cuts, wounds or irritated skin.

      Do not apply to eyes or mouth, and apply sparingly around ears.

      Do not allow children to handle the product. When using on children, apply to your own hands first and then put it on the child. You may not want to apply to children’s hands.

      Use just enough repellent to cover exposed skin and/or clothing.  Heavy application and saturation are generally unnecessary for effectiveness.

      After returning indoors, wash treated skin with soap and water or bathe.

      If you or your child get a rash or other bad reaction from an insect repellent, stop using the repellent, wash the repellent off with mild soap and water, and call a local poison control center for further guidance.


Repellants Use for Children (American Academic of Pediatrics)

      Use no more than 30% DEET on infants and children.

      Do not use DEET on infants younger than 2 months of age.


Always follow the recommendations appearing on the product label when using repellent


West Nile Virus cases usually occur in the late summer or early fall.  However, Texas has a variety of climates, and when temperatures are mild, West Nile Virus can be transmitted year round. It is best to protect yourself all year. According to Elisakit.net The “Four D’s” should be implemented to defend against West Nile Virus.


The Four Ds of West Nile Virus Prevention

      Dusk to Dawn – Those are the prime mosquito feeding hours and that is when they are most likely to take a drink out of you.

      Dress – Wear long sleeves and long pants to avoid being bit.

      DEET – Buy an insect repellant that contains DEET and be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

      Drainage – Make sure flower pots, water dishes, bird baths and children’s swimming pools are properly drained so they’re not breeding grounds for mosquitoes.

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