What You Need To Know About West Nile Virus (WNV)
West Nile virus is a potentially serious and seasonal illness in North America. It is common during summer and continues into the fall. The virus is spread by infected mosquitoes through a bite. The mosquitoes contract the virus upon feeding on infected birds, which they spread to humans and other animals when they bite (CDC, 2012). A small amount of the virus can be transmitted through blood transfusions, transplants, and from mother to child while breastfeeding. People usually feel sick with 14 days of being infected
Signs and Symptoms of West Nile Virus
- High fever
- Neck Stiffness
- Nausea and vomiting
- Muscle weakness
- Numbness and paralysis
- Skin rash on the stomach and back
- Swollen lymph glands
About 80% of those infected will not show symptoms at all. Some of the neurological symptoms mentioned above may be permanent. According to CDC (2012), about 150 people infected with the disease will develop severe symptoms , 20% of the people infected are symptomatic for a few days in moderate conditions.
Who is at Risk for West Nile Virus?
Individuals over 50 years are susceptible to developing WNV and should take more precaution to avoid mosquito bites. Staying outdoors exposes one to getting infected, it is important to wear long sleeve to protect yourself from being bitten can help to prevent WNV. The risk of getting infected from blood transfusion or organ donations and transplant is very small.
Prevention of West Nile Virus
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends the use of insect repellent with DEET (N, N-diethyl-meta-toluamide), wearing long sleeved shirts, elimination of stale or standing water, and the use of window screens. In addition to the recommended behaviors, people that frequent the parks should use protective measures to prevent themselves from getting bitten by mosquito.