The University of West Florida recognizes the concern regarding the mosquito-borne West Nile Virus and is conducting a proactive awareness and treatment campaign to minimize mosquito populations on campus, and to inform faculty, staff and students how to minimize contact. West Nile is typically spread by a species of mosquito active during the early morning and evening hours, and primarily carried in birds. Mosquitoes that feed on infected birds may transmit the virus to humans. However, of the many viruses transmitted by mosquito, West Nile is one of the least virulent, and chances of contracting the virus are extremely remote. Minimizing contact with
a mosquito is the best method of prevention.
Mosquito fogging and other insecticide treatments are often employed in populated areas; however, the effectiveness of this method remains controversial for repetitive and long-term applications. The University of West Florida Campus is surrounded by marshlands and woodlands that make insecticide treatment difficult and impractical. Fogging and chemical larvicide treatment is also non-selective, killing many beneficial insects and mosquito predators, and presents other unfavorable ecological consequences. In consultation with several Biology faculty with expertise in this area, the University feels that an educational program targeting natural elimination methods, with minimal and localized pesticide application, is in the best interest of the campus community. The following efforts will be enacted:
These efforts will require everyone's cooperation to help reduce breeding areas throughout the populated areas of campus. For additional information, you may contact the Department of Environmental Health and Safety at Ext. 2525, or e-mail Peter Robinson, Director.
Additional Information on
WEST NILE VIRUS
About the Virus, the Disease, and Its Spread
West Nile virus is spread by the bite of an infected mosquito, and can infect people, horses, many types of birds, and some other animals. Mosquitoes become infected when they feed on infected birds, which may circulate the virus in their blood for a few days. Infected mosquitoes can then transmit West Nile virus to humans and animals while biting to take blood. The virus is located in the mosquito's salivary glands. During blood feeding, the virus may be injected into the animal or human, where it may multiply, possibly causing illness. Most people who become infected with West Nile virus will have either no symptoms or only mild ones. Even in areas where the virus is circulating, very few mosquitoes are infected with the virus. Even if the mosquito is infected, less than 1% of people who get bitten and become infected will get severely ill. The chances you will become severely ill from any one mosquito bite are extremely small. On rare occasions, West Nile virus infection can result in a severe and sometimes fatal illness known as West Nile encephalitis (an inflammation of the brain). The risk of severe disease is higher for persons 50 years of age and older. There is no evidence to suggest that West Nile virus can be spread from person to person or from animal to person.
Using Insect Repellents Safely
EPA recommends the following precautions when using insect repellents:
What can I do to reduce my risk of becoming infected with West Nile virus?