Health Officials Warn of Increased Risk of WNV Transmission in Virginia

October 5, 2018

MEDIA CONTACT: Maribeth Brewster 804-864-7008, maribeth.brewster@vdh.virginia.gov

(Richmond, Va.) As of October 1, the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) has identified a record number of human West Nile virus (WNV) cases.  VDH has received reports of WNV from multiple regions of the state for a combined total of 38 human cases in 2018.

“These cases serve as a reminder that mosquitoes that transmit WNV can be active as late as the end of October here in Virginia,” said State Health Commissioner M. Norman Oliver, MD, MA, “and so we are advising the public to avoid mosquito bites until the first frost.”

For information on where these WNV cases are located, visit http://www.vdh.virginia.gov/environmental-epidemiology/west-nile-virus-data/ .

The most effective way to avoid WNV and other mosquito-borne disease is to prevent mosquito bites. Prevention strategies include the following:

Use Insect Repellent: When used as directed, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered insect repellents are proven safe and effective, even for children and pregnant or breastfeeding women. Use an EPA-registered insect repellent with one of the following active ingredients:

  • DEET
  • Picaridin
  • IR3535
  • Oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE)
  • Para-menthane-diol (PMD)
  • 2-undecanone

Cover up: Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants.

Keep mosquitoes outside:
Use air conditioning, or intact window and door screens. If you are not able to protect yourself from mosquitoes inside your home or hotel, sleep under a mosquito bed net.

Eliminate mosquito breeding habitats: Tip, toss, and cover items that hold water, such as tires, buckets, planters, toys, pools, birdbaths, flowerpots, or trash containers at least once a week.

For more information on mosquito-borne disease, such as WNV, please visit VDH’s Division of Environmental Epidemiology.