Environmental Health
Rodents, Bats, Insects & Other Vectors
West Nile Virus (WNV)
  preventing wnv infection  

The following information is taken from the Washington Department of Health and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

How Can I Protect Myself?

There is no human vaccine for West Nile Virus. The best way to protect yourself and your family is to avoid mosquito bites and reduce places where mosquitoes live and breed around your home. Here are several steps you can take to protect yourself and your family:

Avoid the Bite

  • Make sure windows and doors are "bug tight." Repair or replace torn screens. Consider adding screens to doors and windows that are often left open.
  • Stay indoors at dawn and dusk, if possible, when mosquitoes are the most active.
  • Wear a long sleeve shirt, long pants, and a hat when going into areas with mosquitoes, such as wetlands or woods.
  • Use mosquito repellant when necessary. Read the label and carefully follow instructions. Take special care when using repellent on children (see Mosquito Repellent Fact Sheet).

Don't Give Mosquitoes a Home

Drawing of mosquito breeding areasMosquitoes like to lay their eggs in standing water and have adapted to a wide variety of habitats including ponds, marshes, tree holes, and containers such as tires. Larvae are rarely found in deep water lakes and ponds or in flowing water such as streams or rivers. Larvae generally take four to ten days to hatch. For additional information, see Mosquitoes 101 [PDF].

Mosquitoes often stay within a mile of their breeding site, so it is important for you and your neighbors to reduce as many mosquito breeding areas as possible. The following illustration identifies areas around your home where mosquitoes are likely to breed.

  1. Change stagnant birdbath water at least twice a week also fountains and animal troughs.
  2. Clear storm drains and gutters of leaves and lawn cuttings water that does not flow freely can harbor mosquito breeding conditions.
  3. Fill in low-lying areas that puddle particularly spots that collect water after watering, such as in lawns and gardens. Do not overwater; be sure that timed watering systems are working properly.
  4. Clean clogged roof gutters to allow proper drainage.
  5. Maintain ponds and ditches stagnant water provides breeding areas for mosquitoes. See Maintaining Your Stormwater Pond, or Go with the Flow: Leave the Ditch or Swale Alone, Thurston County Resource Stewardship. Also see FAQs, for additional questions on ponds and wetland areas.
  6. Repair torn window/door screens, keep attic vents closed openings allow mosquitoes into your home.
  7. Tarps and covers collect water, empty right away particularly pool covers, boat tarps.
  8. Place toys and other objects under cover don't leave out in the open to collect rainwater.
  9. Empty anything that holds standing water old tires, buckets, empty containers, and flower pot dishes. Drill holes in bottoms of containers or turn over when not in use. Culex pipiens, which can transmit WNV, prefers polluted waters and small containers in which to breed.
  10. Fix leaky outdoor faucets and sprinklers.
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