Safety and You at ISU
Brought to you by ISU Public Safety and the ISU Safety Committee September, 2005
West Nile Virus: Facts & Figures
Idaho has 32 counties with documented cases of West Nile Virus, with 363 human cases having been reported to the Idaho Dept. of Health & Welfare. This includes 2 confirmed cases in Bannock County, 27 in Bingham County and 4 in Bonneville County (Idaho Dept. of Health & Welfare as of August 25, 2006).
The Southeastern District Health Department is urging individuals to protect themselves. WNV is transmitted through the bite of a mosquito, so the best way to reduce your risk of becoming infected is to avoid being bitten by infected mosquitoes. Practice the “Seven D’s” of protection:
- DRAIN any standing water that may produce mosquitoes.
- DAWN and
- DUSK are times to avoid. These are when mosquitoes are most active.
- DRESS appropriately by wearing long sleeves and pants when outdoors.
- DEFEND yourself against mosquitoes by using an effective repellent, such as DEET, Picaridin or Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus. Make sure you follow label directions.
- DOOR and window screens should be in good condition. This will prevent mosquitoes from entering your home.
- DISTRICT (SDHD) personnel are on hand to help address any mosquito problem you may be experiencing.
(Excerpt from August 3, 2006 SDHD News Release)
What is West Nile Virus?
West Nile Virus (WNV) is a potentially serious illness. Experts believe WNV is established as a seasonal epidemic in North America that flares up in the summer and continues into the fall.
What are the symptoms of WNV?
- No Symptoms in Most People. Approximately 80 percent of people (about 4 out of 5) who are infected with WNV will not show any symptoms at all, but there is no way to know in advance if you will develop an illness or not.
- Milder Symptoms in Some People. Up to 20 percent of the people who become infected will display symptoms which can include fever, headache, body aches, nausea, vomiting, and sometimes swollen lymph glands or a skin rash on the chest, stomach and back. Symptoms can last for as short as a few days, though even healthy people have been sick for several weeks.
- Serious Symptoms in a Few People. About one in 150 people infected with WNV will develop severe illness. The severe symptoms can include high fever, headache, neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness, vision loss, numbness and paralysis. These symptoms may last several weeks, and neurological effects may be permanent.
How Does West Nile Virus Spread?
- Infected Mosquitoes. Most often, WNV is spread by the bite of an infected mosquito. Mosquitoes become infected when they feed on infected birds. Infected mosquitoes can then spread WNV to humans and other animals when they bite.
- Transfusions, Transplants, and Mother-to-Child. In a very small number of cases, WNV also has been spread through blood transfusions, organ transplants, breastfeeding and even during pregnancy from mother to baby.
- Not through touching! WNV is not spread through casual contact such as touching or kissing a person infected with the virus.
How Soon Do Infected People Get Sick?
People typically develop symptoms between 3 and 14 days after they have been bitten by the infected mosquito.
What Should I Do if I Think I Have WNV?
Milder WNV illness improves on its own and people do not necessarily need to seek medical attention for this infection though they may choose to do so. If you develop symptoms of severe WNV illness, such as unusually severe headaches or confusion, seek medical attention immediately. Severe WNV illness usually requires hospitalization. Pregnant women and nursing mothers are encouraged to talk to their doctor if they develop symptoms that could be WNV.
What is the Risk of Getting Sick from WNV?
- People over 50 at higher risk to get severe illness. People over 50 are more likely to develop serious symptoms of WNV if they do get sick and should take special care to avoid mosquito bites.
- Being outside means you’re at risk. The more time you are outdoors, the more time you could be bitten by an infected mosquito. Pay attention to avoiding mosquito bites if you spend a lot of time outside, either working or playing.
- Risk through medical procedures is very low. All donated blood is checked for WNV before being used. The risk of getting WNV through blood transfusions and organ transplants is very small, and should not prevent people who need surgery from having it. If you have concerns, talk to your doctor.
- Pregnancy and nursing do not increase risk of becoming infected with WNV. The risk that WNV may present to a fetus or an infant infected through breastmilk is still being evaluated. Talk to your doctor if you have concerns.
What Else Should I Know?
If you find a dead bird. Contact Public Safety at 282-2515 for any dead birds on campus. Off campus contact the local Health Department for reporting and disposing of the body at 233-9080. If you need to pickup a dead bird, or local authorities tell you to dispose of the dead bird, Do Not handle the body with your bare hands. Use gloves or an inverted plastic bag, and then wash or dispose of the gloves, and wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water. (Excerpts from CDC’s website)
Check out these websites for more information:
Don’t Be A Victim—Bag Thefts Are a Crime of Opportunity…
- Never leave your bag unattended at anytime!
- Report the theft to Public Safety immediately.
- Never keep credit cards, check books or large amounts of cash in your bag.
- Mark every item in your bag with an identifiable number.
- Never leave books or bags in plain sight in your vehicle.
Bicycling is one of the most popular ways to get around, whether for sport, recreation or transportation. The National Safety Council offers the following tips for safe and enjoyable bicycling:
- Obey traffic rules. Get acquainted with ordinances. Cyclists must follow the same rules as motorists.
- Ride in single file with traffic, not against it.
- Make safe turns and cross intersections with care. When the traffic is heavy and a cyclist has to turn left, it is best to dismount and walk the bicycle across the street at the crosswalk.
- Before riding into traffic: stop, look left, right, left again, and over your shoulder.
- Always be seen. Be sure the bicycle has three sets of reflectors, front and rear, wheel and pedal.
- Wear a helmet. Head injuries cause about 85% of all bicycling fatalities.
(Excerpt from Utah Safety Council)
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Watch your local and school newspapers for more information.