5 Things You Need to Know About West Nile Virus

With the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reporting that the recent outbreak of West Nile virus is the largest ever seen in the United States, with Texas at the epicenter, you feel uncertain whether you are doing enough to protect your family against this potentially fatal disease. CNN shares some useful information about the virus and how to prevent it.

Not all mosquitoes carry West Nile – According to the Connecticut Mosquito Management Program, only about one in 500 mosquitoes carry the virus, even in areas where many cases of infection have been reported.

Most who get bitten by West Nile mosquitoes do not get sick – CDC reports that about 80 percent of people bit by a mosquito infected with the virus do not get sick. About 20% will experience relatively mild symptoms like fever, headache, and vomiting. These symptoms can laso between a few days to a few weeks. Only one in 150 people infected with the virus will develop severe symptoms, which can include paralysis, coma or death. However, do note that even though you do never gotten sick with West Nile, a recent study suggests that prolonged and repeated exposure to the virus may cause kidney diseases.

Prevent West Nile with 4 D’s – These D’s are reminders on what to do to prevent getting infected with West Nile, such as using mosquito repellent with DEET, dressing in long pants and short sleeves, avoid going outdoors between dusk and dawn, and drain any container with standing water where mosquitoes like to breed.

Older people are at higher risk – People over 50 are most likely to experience severe illnesses with West Nile. They should take extra care and precaution to avoid mosquitoes.

Seek medical help immediately even on the mildest symptoms – If you develop symptoms such as unusually severe headaches or confusion, consult a physician immediately. Severe illness usually require you to stay in the hospital, while milder cases improve on their own.


Tags: , , ,

Leave a Comment