What is West Nile Virus?
West Nile Virus is a strain of encephalitis, a serious, untreatable and sometimes deadly viral disease that can be carried by some mosquitoes. The virus which was first found in Uganda in 1937, was discovered in US in 1999 and has spread across America. In 2002 it was responsible for more than 200 deaths in the U.S., according to the Centres for Disease Control.
The climatic change in the UK may bring West Nile Virus to Britain. Since the mosquito larvae grow in stagnant (dirty) and shallow water, the North West and parts of Wales are most likely to be affected because of the higher rainfall in these areas.
Contracting West Nile Virus from a mosquito bite is extremely rare. However, it can be especially dangerous if contracted by people with an impaired ability to fight the virus, such as the elderly, young children, and those with conditions that compromise the immune system.
Symptoms of West Nile Virus
West Nile symptoms usually appear between five and 15 days after a bite from an infected mosquito. In the early stages, these symptoms may include:
- Severe headaches
- Nausea and vomiting
- Muscle aches, pain, stiffness, or all three
If you experience any of these symptoms after being bitten by a mosquito, you should immediately seek medical attention.
Tips for prevention
Symptoms of West Nile Virus are frightening, but fortunately there are several effective, common-sense steps you can take to protect yourself and your family:
Prevent Mosquitoes From Breeding
- Empty buckets and cans to prevent water from collecting outside.
- Change water in bird baths every three or four days.
- Avoid stagnant water
- When in a climate where mosquitoes are active, use a mosquito net during the night and mosquito or fly screen in windows and doors.
- Use insecticides
- Use Autan insect repellent whether at home or abroad
Know When it is Prime Biting Time
Be aware that mosquitoes are most active between dusk and dawn, and take steps to protect yourself if you are outdoors at those times.
Wear shoes, socks, long trousers, and a long-sleeve shirt when outdoors. Make sure all of your window screens fit tightly and are in good repair.
Deter insects with Bayrepel*. The Autan range contains Bayrepel*, a unique active ingredient that is recommended by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as a safe and effective insect repellent. Autan insect repellents offer a range of products for you and your family. Click here to see which Autan products are right for you!
Additional Safety Tips
- Whenever you use an insecticide or insect repellent, be sure to read and follow the manufacturer's directions for use, as printed on the product. Don't allow children to apply insect repellents themselves.
- Be sure to reapply the insect repellent if you have been swimming or perspiring, according to directions.
- Use enough repellent to cover exposed skin and also apply under thin clothing. Heavy application is not necessary to achieve protection.
- Do not apply repellent to cuts, wounds, or irritated skin.
- After returning indoors, wash treated skin with soap and water.
- Do not spray aerosol or pump products in enclosed areas.
- Do not apply aerosol or pump products directly to your face. Spray your hands and then rub them carefully over your face, avoiding eyes and mouth.