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West Nile Virus

Mosquito life cycle

Mosquito season means the return of the West Nile Virus

Although the Health Department is the lead agency for responding to the West Nile Virus, the City of Renton has developed a response plan to augment the Department of Health program. The City's strategy emphasizes prevention as the best protection from West Nile Virus and consists of:

  • Monitoring for the presence of the virus using the Health Department surveillance data
  • Supporting public education on what residents can do to protect themselves from bites and to reduce mosquito habitat
  • Minimizing mosquito-breeding habitat on City property
  • Apply for an Aquatic Mosquito Control Permit. This will be utilized only if required by the Health Department and conducted in conjunction with adjacent jurisdictions

A Few Facts

What is the West Nile Virus?

West Nile is a mosquito-borne virus that can cause encephalitis (inflammation of the brain) or meningitis (inflammation of the lining of the brain and spinal cord.)

How is West Nile Virus spread?

West Nile Virus is spread to humans by the bite of an infected mosquito. A mosquito becomes infected by biting a bird that carries the virus. You cannot get West Nile Virus from a person who has the disease. It is not spread by person-to-person contact such as touching, kissing, or caring for someone who is infected.

What are the symptoms of this viral infection?

Most people who are infected with the West Nile Virus either have no symptom, or experience mild flu-like symptoms before fully recovering. Some persons also develop a mild rash or swollen lymph glands. In some individuals, particularly the elderly, West Nile Virus can cause encephalitis or meningitis. Only about 1 in 150 infected people experience the more serious symptoms.

What can be done?

The City's Response Plan will help reduce mosquito risks on City property. Citizens can help reduce their risk by remembering that prevention is the best protection.

No mosquitosPrevention Tips:

  • Make sure doors and windows are covered in screen
  • Wear long pants, long sleeved shirts and socks when outdoors
  • Consider use of a mosquito repellent containing DEET
  • Eliminate standing water on your property: clean out gutters, dispose of old tires, empty buckets and flowerpot dishes, fix leaky faucets
  • Change water in watering troughs and bird baths weekly
  • Screen rain barrels or other containers that can't be drained
  • Stay indoors at dusk and dawn
  • Vaccinate horses - other pets (dogs and cats) are resistant to West Nile Virus

Want more info?

King County Public Health website has information on their dead bird and mosquito surveillance programs as well as info and advisories for health care providers.

The Washington Department of Health website provides the latest news releases and statewide occurrence statistics as well as information for the general public, health care providers, veterinarians, local health departments and mosquito control districts.

Email the Surface Water Utility Supervisor