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Get information from KEYE TV Austin News on West Nile Virus outbreaks, where they're occurring and how they're affecting your neighborhood.
Mosquitoes pick up the virus from birds they bite and then spread it to people.
Some advice for getting rid of mosquitoes:
- Eliminate standing water in wheelbarrows, rain gutters, buckets, plastic covers, toys, or any other container where mosquitoes can breed
- Empty and change the water in pet drinking bowls, bird baths, fountains, wading pools, rain barrels, and potted plant trays every four to five days to destroy potential mosquito habitats
- Drain or fill temporary pools of water with dirt
- Keep swimming pool water treated and circulating
- Clean out rain gutters
- Remove discarded tires or keep them dry and covered
- Add an aerator to ponds and water gardens or add fish that will eat mosquitoes and larvae
- Remove debris (leaves, twigs, trash) from ditches and low areas
- Fill in ruts and holes that collect standing water
Effective mosquito repellent options:
- Repellents containing DEET (up to 30 percent concentration) are still the most widely used and can provide long-lasting protection against mosquito bites.
- Permethrin is a strong repellent and will kill mosquitoes that come into contact with treated clothing. Repellents containing permethrin are applied to clothing (not skin). Treated clothing can be worn after the repellent dries.
- Effective alternatives to DEET or permethrin include repellents containing picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, or IR3535.
- For maximum effectiveness and safety, all mosquito repellents should be used according to label directions.
About 80 percent of those infected with West Nile Virus show no symptoms.
About one in 150 people infected with WNV will develop severe illness. The severe symptoms can include high fever, headache, neck stiffness, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness, vision loss, numbness and paralysis. These symptoms may last several weeks, and neurological effects may be permanent. Symptoms can last for as short as a few days, though even healthy people have become sick for several weeks.