- No human vaccine against West Nile virus (WNV) is currently available.
- Education about reducing the risk of infection is important
for all persons in transmission areas, but especially in the higher-risk populations (persons more than 50 years old and persons who are immunocompromised).
primary prevention step recommended is the use of mosquito repellent
when outdoors. Mosquitoes may bite through thin clothing, so
spraying clothes with repellent containing permethrin or another
EPA-registered repellent will give extra protection. These repellents
are the most effective and the most studied.
Generally, the more active ingredient a repellent contains the
longer it can protect from mosquito bites.
Repellents containing permethrin are not approved for direct
application on the skin. Repellent should not be sprayed on
the skin under clothing. For detailed information about using
Insect Repellent Use and Safety.
- Other options include wearing protective clothing (long sleeves, socks, and long pants) when outdoors.
- The primary mosquito-biting hours for many of the species that are important vectors of WNV are from dusk to dawn. It is advisable to either stay indoors during these hours or use protective clothing and repellent.
- Household mosquito-source reduction is also important. Standing water should be removed from outdoor receptacles in the periresidential environment.
- Integrated mosquito management can be another important factor in controlling mosquito populations. (See Q & A: Pesticides Used in Mosquito Control.)