West Nile Virus Spreads in US; 26 Symptoms, Treatment & Facts

Several states in America have reported new cases of West Nile virus.

Washington and Montana recorded first cases of the virus this year. In Illinois, the batches of mosquitoes gathered in Will Cook, DuPage and Kane counties have also tested positive for the virus, WGNtv reported.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a total of 23 states have reported West Nile virus infections in people, birds, or mosquitoes as of July 7.

Ten infections in humans have been reported to CDC. Of these, two were classified as neuroinvasive disease such as meningitis or encephalitis and eight were classified as non-neuroinvasive disease.

The CDC explains that most people who become infected with WNV do not develop any symptoms. Only about 1 in 5 people who are infected manifest symptoms such as the following:

  1. Headache
  2. Body aches
  3. Joint pains
  4. Vomiting
  5. Diarrhea
  6. Rash

CDC adds less than one percent of WNV patients develop serious neurologic illness.  Symptoms of neurologic illness may include:

  1. Headache
  2. High fever
  3. Neck stiffness
  4. Disorientation
  5. Comatose
  6. Tremors
  7. Seizures
  8. Paralysis

Most people infected with WNV are expected to have full recovery, but weakness may last for weeks.

Facts About WNV

  1. WNV is most commonly transmitted to humans by mosquitoes. Mosquitoes become infected when they feed on infected birds.
  2. Although there are few documented cases, WNV may also be transmitted through blood transfusions, organ transplants, exposure in a laboratory setting, and from mother to baby during pregnancy, delivery, or breastfeeding.
  3. Symptoms usually manifest between three to 14 days after being bitten by infected mosquito, according to the Market Business.
  4. There is no vaccine or medication yet for the disease.
  5. Over-the-counter pain relievers can be used to ease fever and some symptoms.
  6. Hospitalization may be needed in more serious cases, so patients can receive intravenous fluids treatment, pain medication, and nursing care.
  7. Use insect repellent and protective clothing are highly recommended to prevent mosquito bites.
  8. Mosquitoes are most active during the hours of dawn and dusk. Exercise caution during these periods.
  9. Most people are infected from June through September.
  10. Eliminate mosquitoes breeding sites to decrease risk of contracting the virus.
  11. Report dead bird sightings in their area to help confirm the presence of the virus in the environment.
  12. West Nile virus disease cases have been reported in all 48 lower states of America. The only states that have not reported cases are Alaska and Hawaii.
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