West Nile Virus Precaution
TARRANT COUNTY PUBLIC HEALTH
WEST NILE VIRUS 2012
   
 
General Information:

There has been a higher than usual number of human West Nile Virus cases in Texas this year due to the warm winter and recent rains, particularly in our area. Tarrant County Public Health is urging people to take precautions to reduce the risk of contracting West Nile Virus, a mosquito-borne illness.

Humans can get West Nile Virus from a bite from an infected mosquito and mosquitoes get the virus from feeding on infected birds or other mammals. West Nile Virus can cause serious illness or death. West Nile neuroinvasive disease symptoms include stiff neck, visual problems, body tremors, mental confusion, memory loss and seizures. The milder form of the illness is West Nile fever and symptoms include fever, headache, muscle and bone aches, and nausea.

People with the milder form of illness typically recover on their own, although symptoms may last for several weeks. Up to 80 percent of people infected with West Nile Virus will have no symptoms and will recover on their own.

There are no medications to treat or vaccines to prevent West Nile Virus infection. People over 50 years old and those with compromised immune systems are at a higher risk of becoming seriously ill when they become infected with the virus. If people have symptoms and feel sick enough, they should contact their health-care provider.

You can find the latest Tarrant County facts and additional information about West Nile Virus and its prevention at http://access.tarrantcounty.com/en/public-health/disease-control---prevention/west-nile-virus.html
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Web site also offers information at http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvbid/westnile/index.htm.

A Message for Administrators:
You can help protect students, parents, event spectators and other faculty/staff from West Nile virus infection.

• Reduce the mosquito breeding sites/sources also known as “source reduction” – this is the most effective and economical method toward long-term mosquito control.

• Check for and rid your campus of easily recognized mosquito breeding areas, which are best described as anywhere water can pool and become stagnant and especially those also with organic debris.

Examples include:
• Containers/cans near cafeteria exteriors
• Used tires that may be acting as barriers or playground equipment
• Gutters
• Birdbaths or other decorative structures
• Grassy ditches
• Any site (construction, vocational-technical areas or playgrounds) that might harbor standing water

• Contact your Facilities Manager or Safety Officer and/or city public works department for information about additional mosquito control measures that may apply to your schools/campuses. These measures could include larvaciding of areas with water that cannot be drained and adulticide application (preferably on weekends when most students, faculty and staff are not present) of appropriate environmental hazards.

• Communicate to your faculty, staff and students about how to protect themselves by using insect repellent, wearing appropriate clothing, avoiding being outdoors from dusk to dawn, when possible, and source reduction at their homes.  This can be done through Web sites, social media, signage, announcements, parent/guardian letters and pamphlets.

• Consider scheduling/re-scheduling outside events during daylight hours rather than in the evening or at dusk and/or dawn. When this is not possible, provide repellent to students and staff who must participate in school-sanctioned activities at these times. Remind others who may be present at these events of the importance of using DEET-containing repellent products [with at least 20 percent] according to the label directions. Encourage them to wear long sleeves and long pants if possible.

A Message for Activities & Athletic Directors & Staff:
You can help protect students, parents, event spectators and other faculty/staff from West Nile virus infection.

• Work with your school’s administration, including the Facility Manager or Safety Officer, to eliminate standing, stagnant water, which are prime breeding ground for mosquitoes.

Communicate to your faculty, staff and students:
• make sure they know how to protect themselves by using insect repellent, wearing appropriate clothing, avoiding being outdoors from dusk to dawn, when possible, and source reduction at their homes; and

• at all events, remind the crowd to protect themselves and their communities by helping eliminate mosquito breeding areas. This can be done through social media, signage, announcements and pamphlets/brochures.

• Remember that early morning (dawn), near dusk, and after dark events pose a potential risk for you, your students, and other people attending or participating. These are the times when mosquitoes are most likely to be out feeding.

• Consider scheduling/re-scheduling outside events during daylight hours rather than in the evening or at dusk and/or dawn.

• When such is not possible, provide repellent to students and staff who must participate in school-sanctioned activities at these times.

• Remind others who may be present at these events of the importance of using DEET-containing repellent products according to the label directions. Encourage them to wear long sleeves and long pants if possible.

• The Internet provides instant access to volumes of information about West Nile virus. You can find the latest Tarrant County facts and additional information about West Nile virus and its prevention at http://www.tarrantcounty.com/eHealth and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Web site also offers information at http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvbid/westnile/index.htm.

A Message for Classroom Teachers:
Know that you can help protect students, parents, and other faculty/staff from West Nile virus infection.

• Work with your school’s administration, including the Facility Manager or Safety Officer, to eliminate standing, stagnant water, a prime breeding ground for mosquitoes.

• Allowing students outdoors for recess poses no greater risk to West Nile virus than if they were outside at home – just be aware of mosquitoes and if possible and appropriate, provide repellent for student use.

• Encourage children to participate in clean-up campaigns at school. They can do the same at their homes.

• Communicate to your students and parents/guardians to make sure they know how to protect themselves by using insect repellent, wearing appropriate clothing, avoiding being outdoors from dusk to dawn, when possible, and source reduction at their homes.

• The Internet provides instant access to volumes of information about West Nile virus. You can find the latest Tarrant County facts and additional information about West Nile virus and its prevention at http://www.tarrantcounty.com/eHealth and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's website also offers information at http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvbid/westnile/index.htm.