How to Stay Clear of West Nile Virus

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West Nile is a virus most commonly spread to people by mosquito bites. In North America, cases of West Nile virus (WNV) occur during mosquito season, which starts in the summer and continues through fall. WNV cases have been reported in all of the continental United States. There are no vaccines to prevent or medications to treat WNV in people. Fortunately, most people infected with WNV do not have symptoms. About 1 in 5 people who are infected develop a fever and other symptoms. About 1 out of 150 infected people develop a serious, sometimes fatal, illness. You can reduce your risk of WNV by using insect repellent and wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants to prevent mosquito bites.

West Nile Virus is found in both temperate and tropical regions and was first isolated from a feverish 37-year-old woman at Omogo in the West Nile District of Uganda in 1937 during research on yellow fever virus. West Nile Virus mainly majorly affect birds but is known to also infect humans, horses, dogs, cats, bats, chipmunks, skunks, squirrels, domestic rabbits, crocodiles, and alligators.

How is Human Infected

West Nile Virus get into the human body through the bite of an infected mosquito, West Nile virus symptoms typically appear 3 to 14 days after a bite from an infected mosquito. People over age 50 are more likely to become severely ill as a result of a bite from an infected mosquito.

West Nile Virus Major Symptom

 

The major symptoms of the virus include tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness, vision loss, numbness, and paralysis, and even comas. Twenty percent of people with West Nile have less severe symptoms, including fever, headache, body aches, vomiting, swollen glands, and rashes. Eighty percent of all of those infected show no symptoms.

Mild infection signs and symptoms

About 20 percent of people develop a mild infection called West Nile fever. Common signs and symptoms include:

  • Fever
  • A headache
  • Body aches
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Fatigue
  • Skin rash

Serious infection signs and symptoms

In less than 1 percent of infected people, the virus causes a serious neurological infection, including inflammation of the brain (encephalitis) and of the membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord (meningitis).

Signs and symptoms of neurological infections include:

  • High fever
  • A severe headache
  • Stiff neck
  • Disorientation or confusion
  • Stupor or coma
  • Tremors or muscle jerking
  • Seizures
  • Partial paralysis or muscle weakness

Signs and symptoms of West Nile fever usually last a few days, but signs and symptoms of encephalitis or meningitis can linger for weeks or months. Certain neurological effects, such as muscle weakness, can be permanent.

How Not To Be Infected By West Nile Virus

  1. Make sure you eliminate mosquito breeding sites in and around your environment. This can be achieved by larviciding active breeding areas and encouraging the personal use of mosquito repellents.
  2. The public is also encouraged to spend less time outdoors, wear long covering clothing, apply bug repellant that contains DEET, and ensure mosquitoes cannot enter buildings.
  3. Environmentalists have condemned attempts to control the transmitting mosquitoes by spraying pesticide, saying the detrimental health effects of spraying outweigh the relatively few lives which may be saved, and more environmentally friendly ways of controlling mosquitoes are available. They also question the effectiveness of insecticide spraying, as they believe mosquitoes that are resting or flying above the level of spraying will not be killed; the most common vector in the northeastern US, Culex pipiens, is a canopy feeder.

So ensure to follow strictly with number 1 & 2 prevention stated above to help you stay clear of West Nile Virus.

Treatment For West Nile Virus

Although no substantial claimed had been made about it, but AMD3100 which had been proposed as an antiretroviral drug for HIV has shown promise against West Nile encephalitis. Morpholino antisense oligos conjugated to cell penetrating peptides have been shown to partially protect mice from West Nile Virus disease. There have also been attempts to treat infections using ribavirin, intravenous immunoglobulin, or alpha interferon. GenoMed, a U.S. biotech company, has found that blocking angiotensin II can treat the “cytokine storm” of West Nile virus encephalitis as well as other viruses.

Statistic of Recent Outbreak in the United State

From 1999 through 2001, the CDC confirmed 149 West Nile virus infections, including 18 deaths. In 2002, a total of 4,156 cases were reported, including 284 fatalities. Thirteen cases in 2002 were contracted through blood transfusion. The cost of WNV-related health care in 2002 was estimated at $200 million. The first human West Nile disease in 2003 occurred in June, and one West Nile-infected blood transfusion was also identified that month. In the 2003 outbreak, 9,862 cases and 264 deaths were reported by the CDC. At least 30% of those cases were considered severe, involving meningitis or encephalitis. In 2004, only 2,539 cases and 100 deaths were reported.

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