West Nile Virus is an illness that is transmitted from mosquitos to humans through a bite. In most people, the virus causes little or no symptoms at all.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in five people will become ill, with fevers and headaches being the most common symptoms. In rare cases, West Nile virus can lead to a serious illness of the brain and nervous system (encephalitis) and can be fatal.
The virus is most common in summer and early fall when people spend more time out of doors. Mosquito bites are most common from dusk to dawn, so preventing mosquito bites is especially important when enjoying evening activities such as camping, campfires, or watching fireworks. In order to prevent mosquito bites, wear long sleeved pants, shirts, and socks if possible. Use an insect repellent for older children, and for babies in strollers, cover the stroller with a mosquito netting.
Reviewed by Dr. Sara Connolly, January 2020