Q. What can I do to reduce my risk of becoming infected with West
Here are preventive measures that you and your family can take:
yourself from mosquito bites:
insect repellent to exposed skin. Generally, the the more active
ingredient a repellent contains the longer it can protect you
from mosquito bites. A higher percentage of active ingredient
in a repellent does not mean that your protection is better—just
that it will last longer. Click
here for more on insect repellent active ingredients. Choose
a repellent that provides protection for the amount of time
that you will be outdoors.
may irritate the eyes and mouth, so avoid applying repellent
to the hands of children.
you use an insecticide or insect repellent, be sure to read
and follow the manufacturer's DIRECTIONS FOR USE, as printed
on the product.
detailed information about using repellents, see the Insect
Repellent Use and Safety questions.
clothing with repellents containing permethrin or another EPA-registered
repellent since mosquitoes may bite through thin clothing. Do
not apply repellents containing permethrin directly to exposed
skin. Do not apply repellent to skin under your clothing.
weather permits, wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants whenever
you are outdoors.
mosquito netting over infant carriers when you are outdoors
staying indoors at dawn, dusk, and in the early evening, which
are peak mosquito biting times.
or repair window and door screens so that mosquitoes cannot
reduce the number of mosquitoes in areas outdoors where you work
or play, by draining sources of standing water. In this way, you
reduce the number of places mosquitoes can lay their eggs and
least once or twice a week, empty water from flower pots, pet
food and water dishes, birdbaths, swimming pool covers, buckets,
barrels, and cans.
for clogged rain gutters and clean them out.
discarded tires, and other items that could collect water.
sure to check for containers or trash in places that may be
hard to see, such as under bushes or under your home.
Vitamin B and "ultrasonic" devices are NOT effective
in preventing mosquito bites.
Kids can learn how to protect themselves from mosquito bites on
Buzz-z-z-z on West Nile Virus" (on BAM!, the CDC site
What can be done to prevent outbreaks of West Nile virus?
A. Prevention and control of West Nile virus and other arboviral
diseases is most effectively accomplished through integrated vector
management programs. These programs should include surveillance
for West Nile virus activity in mosquito vectors, birds, horses,
other animals, and humans, and implementation of appropriate mosquito
control measures to reduce mosquito populations when necessary.
Additionally, when virus activity is detected in an area, residents
should be alerted and advised to increase measures to reduce contact
with mosquitoes. Details about effective prevention and control
of West Nile virus can be found in CDC's
Guidelines for Surveillance, Prevention, and Control (286 KB, 111 pages).
Is there a vaccine against West Nile encephalitis?
A. No, but several groups are working towards developing
Where can I get information about the use of pesticide sprays
that are being used for mosquito control?
A. The federal agency responsible for pesticide evaluation
is the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
See the EPA Web site for detailed answers to the questions
about pesticides used for mosquito control.