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Prevention

There is no vaccine against St. Louis Encephalitis virus (SLEV). Reducing exposure to mosquitoes is the best defense against infection with SLEV and other mosquito-borne viruses. There are several approaches you and your family can use to prevent and control mosquito-borne diseases.

  • Use repellent: When outdoors, use insect repellent containing DEET, picaridin, IR3535 or oil of lemon eucalyptus on exposed skin as well as on clothing (mosquitoes will bite through thin cloth).
    • Permethrin is a repellent/insecticide that can be applied to clothing and will provide excellent protection through multiple washes. You can treat clothing yourself (always follow the directions on the package!) or purchase pre-treated clothing. For best protection it is still necessary to apply other repellent to exposed skin.
  • Wear protective clothing: Wear long sleeves, pants and socks when weather permits.
  • Avoid peak biting hours: Avoid outdoor activity or use protective measures when mosquitoes are active (Culex mosquitoes are most active between dusk and dawn).
  • Keep mosquitoes from laying eggs near you: Mosquitoes can lay eggs even in small amounts of standing water. Get rid of mosquito breeding sites by emptying standing water from flower pots, buckets, barrels, and tires. Change the water in pet dishes and replace the water in bird baths weekly. Drill holes in tire swings so water drains out. Empty children's wading pools and store on their side after use.
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