West Nile Virus

By: Stacy Berman
By: Stacy Berman

June 5, 2006

As spring turns into summer and we see more rainstorms mix with the heat, West Nile Virus becomes a real threat.

The Charlottesville and Albemarle Health Department continually monitor the virus. Stacy Berman found out ways to protect you and your family from being infected.

West Nile Virus is a virus transmitted by mosquitoes. It can sometimes be deadly.

"One in 150 infections result in some what more serious manifestations including meningitis and encephalitis," explains Roy Crewz, an Epidemiologist at the Charlottesville/Albemarle Department of Health.

The number of people with the virus has decreased over the years, but that doesn't mean it has gone away.

"We've had other cases and indications in the area, based upon accounts from surrounding and adjacent counties as well as reports in the horse population."

Even though we're in a drought situation, a rainstorm could leave standing water on your lawn, and that's a breeding ground for mosquitoes.

"Normally if the water drains within a few days, you are okay."

The best way to prevent it is to understand it and take the proper precautions when heading outdoors, like wearing inspect repellent.

"Wear long sleeved clothing, if possible, light during this time of the year, and try to avoid those times of the day and evenings when mosquitoes are most numerous."

Don't think that it can't happen to you because it only takes one mosquito bite to transmit the virus.

"In past years, it has literally killed dozens and dozens of people in other states. We don't know if Virginia is going to be next, but we want to certainly be prepared."

The peak time of the year for mosquitoes is July, but that doesn't mean they won't be around during late spring and early summer.

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