West Nile is a mosquito born virus that can be transmitted to people and cause inflammation of the brain or spinal cord.
Danielle Pettit-Majewski, Washington County Public Health Administrator, says that West Nile is contracted when a person is bitten by a mosquito that has previously bitten an infected bird. It is not contagious from person to person. Symptoms of West Nile are similar to flu-like symptoms. She recommends using insect repellants and decreasing exposure to mosquito breeding grounds, which are places with pooling or stagnant water.