Health Department - Environmental
In September 2002, Laramie County reported its first confirmed case of West
Nile Virus in a horse. Total confirmed West Nile Virus cases for 2002 in Laramie
County: nine horses, reported by the Wyoming Veterinary Laboratory. There have
been no human cases confirmed in Laramie County.
in the West Nile Virus program is to take a proactive approach
in mosquito control to protect the health of the public.
We complete our mission through surveillance, reducing the
population of mosquiteos prior to them becoming adults through
the use of environmental friendly bacteria, and lots of public
Control in Public areas
of Bactericide treatment to kill mosquitos
is West Nile virus?
West Nile virus is a disease that may cause an infection of the brain known
as West Nile encephalitis. Cases of West Nile virus infection were first documented
in the United States in New York City during the summer of 1999. West Nile
virus was confirmed in Colorado at the end of Summer 2002.
How do people get West Nile virus?
People become infected by the bite of a mosquito infected with West Nile virus.
The risk of being infected increases during times of high mosquito activity
such as dusk and dawn. Individuals over the age of 50 and those with compromised
immune systems have the highest risk of severe disease.
What are the symptoms of West Nile virus?
Most infections are mild and symptoms include fever, headache, body aches,
and occasionally a skin rash and swollen lymph glands. Less than 1% of infections
are severe and symptoms of a severe infection may include; headache, high fever,
neck stiffness, disorientation, muscle weakness and tremors. People exhibiting
severe symptoms of West Nile virus should seek medical attention immediately.
Can my pets get West Nile virus?
Dogs, cats, horses and other domestic pets have been known to get West Nile
virus. West Nile virus infections in unvaccinated horses may cause severe or
sometimes fatal symptoms in the animal. Most animals show mild if any symptoms
and are expected to fully recover from the disease. There is no documented
transmission from animals to humans.
Is there a vaccine for West Nile virus?
There is currently no human vaccine for West Nile virus. Contact your veterinarian
for information regarding the vaccine available for horses.
can I prevent my family from getting West Nile virus?
Prevention of West Nile virus should be approached by the dual method of using
personal protection and eliminating mosquito breeding areas.
protective clothing such as lightweight long pants and
long sleeve shirts.
sure doors and windows in the home are tight fitting.
or replace any screens with holes or tears.
outside activity during times of high mosquito activity
such as the feeding times of dusk and dawn.
insect repellant. Studies conducted by the Center for Disease
Control find that insect repellant with DEET (N, N-diethyl-m-toluamide)
is the most effective.
of DEET in Repellant
Time of Protection
to reapply repellent as needed or choose a repellent that
provides protection for the amount of time you will be outdoors.
Products with less than 10% DEET are recommended for children.
Additional information about pesticides can be found at National
Pesticide Information Center.
require water to complete their life cycle. In warm weather
mosquito larvae developing in water can become an adult
mosquito in as little as 7 - 10 days. By eliminating breeding
areas, the number of adult mosquitoes responsible for spreading
disease should decrease.
all standing water on your property, no matter how small
the amount. Change the water in birdbaths or wading pools
and empty flowerpot saucers at least once per week.
roof gutters clear and draining freely.
items that could collect water such as old tires, buckets
and empty cans. Drill drainage holes in tire swings.
not over-water lawns and gardens to prevent standing water.
I have areas on my property where standing water can not
be eliminated such as retention basins, rainwater cisterns,
ditches or low lying marshy areas.
can I prevent mosquitoes from breeding in those areas?
If breeding areas can not be eliminated, a biological pesticide that uses bacteria
which is found naturally in soils throughout the world can be used. Bacillus
thuringiensis var. israelensis or Bti can be purchased at local farm and ranch
suppliers or at the Cheyenne/Laramie Co. Health Department. Bti is very specific
to mosquito, black fly and midge larvae and is not known to affect other isects,
animals or humans. I have heard that West Nile virus kills wild birds.
should I do if I find a dead bird?
Some of the surveillance efforts for West Nile virus include the monitoring
and occasional testing of dead wild birds. If a dead bird is noted, contact
the State of Wyoming Health Department at 877-WYO-BITE . Some birds will be
collected for testing while others will only be included in the surveillance
do I dispose of a dead bird not wanted for testing?
Wearing rubber gloves, scoop up the dead animal with a shovel and place it
in a plastic bag. If you do not have gloves, insert your hand into two plastic
bags, grasp the bird carefully and invert the bag over the bird. Place the
bag in a tight fitting trash container.
do I get more information on West Nile Virus?
Contact the Division of Environmental Health at 307-633-4090 or the Cheyenne
or Cheyenne Weed & Pest at 307-637-6475
Dept of Health
for Disease Control
Back to top