West Nile Virus


People get West Nile Virus (WNV) after being bitten by infected mosquitoes. Not all mosquitoes are infected with WNV. Since we cannot tell by looking which ones are infected, avoiding all mosquitoes is the best protection.

  • West Nile Virus infection is preventable. Below is a list of things that you can do to reduce your chance of getting WNV.
  • Avoid spending time outside at dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are out most, especially the two hours after sunset.
  • If you do go outside, wear a long sleeve shirt, long pants, and socks.
  • Use an insect repellant that contains DEET (look for N, N-diethyl-m-toluamide). Be sure to follow all directions for use.
  • Fix or install windows and door screens to keep mosquitoes from getting inside your home.
  • Remove all sources of standing water around your home (where mosquitoes like to lay their eggs). Empty water from buckets, cans, pool covers, tires, flowerpots, and other items. Change water in birdbaths every 2-3 days.
  • Contact Mosquito Abatement District for free mosquitofish (they eat mosquito larva) for use in ornamental ponds or fountains, (707) 437-1116.
  • Other animals can get WNV too, particularly birds and horses. If you see a dead bird, (especially black crows and blue jays) don’t touch it with your bare hands. Report the dead bird by Internet at www.westnile.ca.gov or by calling 1-877-WNV-BIRD (1-877-968-2473). While no vaccine is available yet for people, a vaccine is available for horses. See your animal’s veterinarian for more details.