The risk of human infection from WNV is very low. Most individuals who are infected with WNV have either no symptoms or very mild symptoms consistent with the flu; however, on rare occasions WNV infection can result in a severe and sometimes fatal illness. Individuals over the age of 50 or persons with compromised immune systems are at a higher risk of developing life threatening complications from WNV.
The most effective way to ensure you do not become infected with WNV is prevention. Certain measures can be taken to minimize the risk of exposure to infected mosquitoes. The Tennessee Department of Health recommends individuals take the following precautions: Use mosquito repellent that contains DEET (the chemical N-N-diethyl-meta-toluamide). For children use a maximum of 10% DEET. If possible, limit outdoor activities between dusk and dawn since this is the time of greatest mosquito activity. If you are outside in an area where mosquitoes are prevalent, wear protective clothing such as long pants, long-sleeved shirts, and socks. Eliminate mosquito-breeding sites by emptying receptacles that collect stagnant water around your home. Keep windows and doors closed or cover them with screens to prevent mosquitoes from entering the resident area.
The Department of Health will continue to monitor for the presence of WNV activity. If you have a freshly dead blue jay or crow you would like tested, contact your local health department for further instructions.