SAINT LOUIS, Aug. 23, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- A mild winter, early spring and hot summer have caused more reported infections of West Nile virus this year than any other year since 2004, according to public health officials. The majority of West Nile virus cases are reported in August and September – peaking in mid-August – but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) expects this year's season to last into fall.
Through August 21, a total of 1,118 cases of West Nile virus, including 629 serious illnesses and 41 deaths, had been reported to the CDC.
West Nile virus is transmitted through bites from infected mosquitoes. Although only one in five people who contract the virus develop symptoms such as fever headache, body aches or vomiting, the virus can cause serious neurological illnesses that can be fatal, such as encephalitis or meningitis. People over 50 years old or those who have certain medical conditions, including cancer, hypertension, diabetes or kidney disease, run the highest risk of serious illness. People typically develop symptoms of West Nile virus three to 14 days after being bitten.
"It is not clear why we are seeing more activity than in recent years," said Marc Fischer, M.D., medical epidemiologist with the CDC's Arboviral Diseases Branch. "Regardless of the reasons for the increase, people should be aware of the West Nile virus activity in their area and take action to protect themselves and their family."
The best way to prevent West Nile infection is to avoid mosquito bites. Wear long sleeves and pants at dawn and dusk – when mosquito activity is highest – and empty standing water from areas outside your home to discourage mosquito breeding. Most importantly, use a personal insect repellent, which the CDC recommends as a highly effective way to reduce risk.
When choosing an insect repellent, consider the length of time you'll be outside and the type of activity you're planning. There are a variety of insect repellents available, ranging from the familiar DEET to newer ingredients like picaridin and oil of lemon eucalyptus.
- DEET: DEET has been used as an insect repellent in the United States for more than 50 years. It's recommended for those spending longer periods of time outdoors in more heavily infested conditions. Recommended by the CDC for effective, long-lasting protection, DEET-based products are available in a wide variety of formulas, including aerosols, sprays or wipes. Length of protection ranges from two to 10 hours (depending on the percentage of DEET in the product). Unscented Backwoods Cutter® Insect Repellents, for example, contain 23 percent DEET for up to 10 hours of sweat-resistant protection against mosquitoes. Formulas with 30 percent concentrations or lower, such as Cutter® All Family® Insect Repellents with 7 percent DEET, can be used on children ages 2 months and older.
- Picaridin: This relatively new CDC-recommended active ingredient offers the same level of protection that people have come to expect from DEET in formulas that feel a little lighter and cleaner. Picaridin-based formulas, like Cutter® Skinsations® Insect Repellent Ultra Light aerosol, won't damage plastics, such as backpacks, fishing line or lures. They can also be used on children ages 2 months and older.
- Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus: Derived from the leaves of the Eucalyptus citriodora tree, oil of lemon eucalyptus naturally repels mosquitoes and deer ticks for up to six hours. You can use oil of lemon eucalyptus-based products, like Cutter® Lemon Eucalyptus Insect Repellent, on children 3 years and older.
- Geraniol: A natural ingredient derived from geranium oil, geraniol utilizes the inherent repellent properties of the geranium to repel mosquitoes and other nuisance pests for hours. Cutter® Natural Insect Repellent contains geraniol for hours of protection from mosquitoes for the entire family.
About United Industries Corporation
United Industries Corporation, a subsidiary of Spectrum Brands Holdings, Inc., is the leading manufacturer of value-brand consumer products for the home, lawn and garden, insect and weed control markets in the United States. United Industries provides its customers with innovative products of outstanding quality, so consumers benefit from easier insect and weed control solutions. Its brands – Spectracide®, Garden Safe®, Hot Shot®, Cutter®, Repel® and Black Flag® – are well recognized by consumers for delivering exceptional value and trusted results. United Industries' passion and longstanding commitment to quality and value has earned the confidence of its retail partners, who count on United Industries to deliver innovative and highly profitable products, customized solutions and merchandising excellence. For more information, visit www.unitedindustriescorporation.com.
About Spectrum Brands Holdings, Inc.
Spectrum Brands Holdings, Inc., a member of the Russell 2000 Index, is a diversified global consumer products company and a leading supplier of batteries, shaving and grooming products, personal care products, small household appliances, specialty pet supplies, lawn & garden and home pest control products, personal insect repellents and portable lighting. Helping to meet the needs of consumers worldwide, the Company offers a broad portfolio of market-leading and widely trusted brands including Rayovac®, Remington®, Varta®, George Foreman®, Black & Decker®, Toastmaster®, Tetra®, Marineland®, Nature's Miracle®, Dingo®, 8-in-1®, FURminator®, Littermaid®, Spectracide®, Cutter®, Repel®, Hot Shot® and Black Flag®. Spectrum Brands Holdings' products are sold by the world's top 25 retailers and are available in more than one million stores in more than 120 countries. With 6,000 employees in 43 countries, Spectrum Brands Holdings reported fiscal 2011 net sales of approximately $3.2 billion. For more information, visit www.spectrumbrands.com.
Connie Caldwell, United Industries Corporation
314-683-2460; [email protected]
SOURCE United Industries Corporation