What Is The West Nile Virus?

Yellow Fever, Malaria or Zika Virus Infected Mosquito Insect Bite Isolated on Black Background

From the moment she lays her eggs, the clock begins ticking, counting down the moments when you will slip from the surface of the food chain and you will be just being a different link and quick food for her hungry young.


They really suck! And since the Summer season arrives – so do they. Normally an irritant at best, providing itchy lumps that swell and burn, now those pesky aerial hypodermic needles can carry an even deadlier payload: West Nile Virus. Most of us have heard about West Nile Virus (WNV), and possibly it’s you thinking about just how serious a matter this virus could be. Furthermore, you’re probably wondering what you can do at work to protect yourself and others.

So What’s WNV?

WNV belongs to a family of viruses called Flaviviridae, a virus commonly found in Africa, West Asia, and the Middle East. WNV made its first appearance in North America in new york in 1999. Since that time it has spread steadily and today has a foot hold in Canada. It’s closely related to the virus that cause Dengue Fever, Yellow Fever, and St. Louis encephalitis. The virus can infect humans, birds, other mosquitoes, horses and other animals.

How Do You Get It?

The majority of people who contract WNV get it from the bite of an infected mosquito, however in 2002, scientists found people could also become infected with WNV through blood transfusions and organ tissue transplants. Regrettably it is older people, people with compromised immune systems or diminished individuals that are currently fighting another illness. And although the chances of being infected are reduced, the proportion of those infected which produce severe health effects is much lower. However, that being true, everyone in a place which has WNV activity is in danger.

How To Fight It?

  • Minimize your exposure to mosquitoes – that is Dusk’til Dawn.
  • Wear protective clothing when outside – long sleeves and long pants.
  • Use DEET or alternative approved repellents – it ‘hides’ you.
  • Inspect screens on windows and doors, make sure they are a tight match.

Good to know

The term “mosquito” is Spanish for “little fly,” and its use dates back to about 1583 in North America (Europeans referred to mosquitoes as “gnats”). Mosquitoes belong to the order Diptera, true flies. Mosquitoes are like flies because they have two wings, but unlike slips, their wings have scales, their legs are long and the females have a long mouth area (proboscis) for piercing skin.

Only the female mosquito bites. There are over 2,700 species of mosquitoes in the world, and there are 13 mosquito genera (plural for “genus”) that reside in the North America. Mosquitoes need standing water to lay their eggs. For those people who utilize Tires this poses a unique challenge. Tires are notoriously well shaped for catching rain water when left outside. No matter how you place a tire, it only catches the rain fall. A tire does not have to be lying around that long for a mosquito to use it as a new breeding ground.


Within a week to ten days, what was once old and simply tire, waiting for appropriate disposal – now becomes a breeding ground for airborne trouble. If it’s possible, cover your tires to prevent rain set, better still store old tire inside or in certain sealed storage facility until removed for recycling. After all, once those little suckers hatch (yes the pun was intentional) they will fly straight for the nearest food source – and that is you and your employees!

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