The West Nile Virus
What is West Nile?
West Nile is a relatively new disease in North America. Transmitted by mosquitoes, victims affected by the disease are humans, birds, horses and other mammals. WNV generally causes flu-like symptoms or in severe cases a fatal inflammation of the brain (encephalitis). WNV can lead to death in some.
Who is at risk?
Those with weak immune systems are most susceptible to the virus.
What are the basic symptoms of West Nile?
Additional more severe symptoms may also include:
- Muscle Weakness
- Body Aches
- Skin rash on torso
Symptoms may disappear after a few days if the disease is mild. In more severe cases, the symptoms may continue for several weeks. Neurological effects may be long term.
- Swollen lymph glands
As with many infectious diseases, certain people, including the elderly or very young, and those with weak immune systems, are at greater risk of experiencing serious health effects.
Anyone who experiences the sudden onset of any of these symptoms should seek immediate medical attention.
While there is no specific treatment, medication or cure for WNV, most symptoms and complications of the disease can be treated. In more severe cases, intensive supportive therapy is indicated, i.e., hospitalization, IV fluids and nutrition, airway management, ventilator support (ventilator) if needed, prevention of secondary infection (pneumonia, urinary tract, etc.) and good nursing care.
Prevention is the best cure
1. Consider staying indoors at dawn, dusk, and in the early evening hours as these are peak mosquito biting times.
2. Mosquitoes breed in stagnant, standing, or fresh water. Rid the outdoor areas of your home of stagnant water such as wading pools, buckets of water, bird baths, etc.
3. Mosquitoes hide in tall grass and brush near inhabited locations. Keep lawns mown and bushes trimmed.
4. Apply inset repellent containing DEET, when outdoors.
5. When possible wear long-sleeved clothing and long pants treated with repellents containing DEET since mosquitoes may bite through exposed skin. If you spray your clothing, there is no need to spray repellent containing DEET directly on your skin.
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Information contained in this website is not intended to serve as a prescription for you, to diagnose, nor to replace the advice of your medical doctor. If you have any medical conditions, or taking prescriptions, or non prescription medications, see your physician before altering or discontinuing the use of them. The statements made or contained here have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent disease.