Senate Committee Warns of West Nile Threat, Carper Urges Caution and Some Safety Tips

WASHINGTON, DC – The threat from West Nile Virus is real and residents should take additional precautions as the government and the Center for Disease Control step up their efforts to identify and control its spread, two Senate committees reported today during a joint hearing. “The spread of West Nile virus is a health concern and challenge that must be tackled,” said Senator Tom Carper, a member of the Governmental Affairs subcommittee. “While human exposure to the virus is still comparatively rare, greater vigilance is necessary.” Experts on infectious diseases met with the Director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and state health officials to testify before the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions and a subcommittee of the Senate Government Affairs Committee. The CDC has awarded an additional $150,000 to the state of Delaware in extra funding as a part of a larger national $6.3 million award to help combat West Nile Virus. As the major cause of West Nile infection still appears to be from infected mosquitoes, Carper offered the following suggestions from the CDC for limiting exposure. More information is available through links on the Senator’s website. 1) Standing water sources such as flowerpots, bird baths, pet food dishes are breeding grounds for mosquitoes. Change the water in them regularly or, if possible, eliminate them around your home. 2) When outdoors, wear insect repellent containing DEET. 3) If possible, wear long sleeve shirts or pants when outdoors. Spray your clothes with insect repellent as well. 4) Remember that mosquitoes are most prevalent at dawn, dusk and in the early evenings. 5) Place light mosquito netting over infant carriers when they are outdoors.