The Massachusetts Department of Public Health announced yesterday that the threat level for West Nile Virus (WNV) has been raised from low to moderate. While there have not been any recorded human cases of the illness this year, the mosquitoes pool tested positive for the virus and the number of mosquitoes has doubled which raises concerns about public safety. People over 50 years of age are at increased risk for severe WNV disease, while most people who got infected with the virus will experience no to very mild symptoms. The disease is self-limited and currently there are no medications to treat it or vaccines to prevent it. Simple steps can be taken to avoid getting infected, that include wearing long sleeves and pants when outdoors, using insect repellents, avoid times of increased mosquitoes activities (from dusk to dawn), and preventing mosquitoes from getting into the house by repairing any damaged door or window screens. As a healthcare provider, how often do you educate patients about preventing the spread of mosquitoes borne illness?
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