(HARLAN) Cases of West Nile virus have been popping up across the state, including one reported in Shelby County earlier this month.
Rachel Birks, Registered Nurse with Shelby County Public Health, said although West Nile virus is a concern, most people who are infected will have no symptoms at all.
“About one out of five people who are infected will have a fever and some symptoms like a headache, body aches, joint pains, vomiting, diarrhea and rash; that’s what the person that was diagnosed had here in Shelby County,” explained Birks. “It’s less than one percent of those infected that develop a serious neurologic illness.”
Birks said you can reduce your risk of being infected by wearing long sleeves and pants and using an insect repellent from dusk to dawn when the mosquitoes are most active.
“The most effective way to avoid that is using insect repellent when you are outside, such as anything containing DEET, or Picaridin, or there is a new one called IR3535, and then a new one that came out a couple years ago is Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus,” said Birks. “So there’s lots of different kinds of insect repellents, they all work, you do have to reapply if you get wet or if you sweat it off or after so many hours, you just have to read the directions and do what it says.”
You can find more information on West Nile at www.cdc.gov/westnile.