The West Nile Virus is an infection transmitted by mosquitoes. The virus is most often contracted in the United States during the mosquito season towards the end of the summer and early fall, and cases of it recently have been reported in the Delaware Valley.
The virus can cause severe infection in transplant recipients, including meningitis/encephalitis (an infection of the nervous system). Because of the extra risk to transplant patients, we've pulled together some precautions that we recommend you take to protect yourself.
Precautionary Steps Against West Nile Virus
1. Use insect repellent on exposed skin and re-apply as directed on the container when you will be spending time outside. Acceptable insect repellants are those that contain one of the following ingredients:
- Oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE)
- Para-methane-diol (PMD)
2. Wear long-sleeved pants and shirts.
3. Use screens on windows and doors.
4. Avoid standing water. Once a week, empty and scrub, turn over, cover, or throw out items that hold water, such as tires, buckets, planters, toys, pools, birdbaths, flowerpots, or trash containers.
Your transplant team is available to answer any questions that you may have regarding the West Nile virus. You can reach them through the myPennMedicine patient portal or by telephone. If you don't have your care team's specific office line, please call the contact center at 800-789-7366, and a representative will connect you.