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5 Things You Should Know About West Nile Virus

Health & Wellness  (tags: abuse, americans, cancer, children, death, disease, government, healthcare, illness, investigation, medicine, protection, risks, science, society, study )

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A total of 693 cases of West Nile virus infections, including 26 deaths, were reported as of Aug. 14 to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The number of cases reported by this second week in August is the highest since 1999, when-->

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Kit B (276)
Sunday August 19, 2012, 6:11 pm
(photo: iStockPhoto)

Here are five things you need to know about West Nile virus:

1. What is West Nile virus?

West Nile virus is a type of virus called a flavivirus. Other viruses in this group cause dengue, yellow fever and Japanese encephalitis. Flaviviruses are commonly transmitted by ticks and mosquitoes. West Nile virus was first identified in Uganda in 1937, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

2. How does West Nile Virus spread?

It is likely that West Nile is spread from birds to people through mosquito bites, the NIH says. Early fall is the time of year that mosquitoes tend to have the highest levels of the virus, and human cases tend to peak around this time.

The virus can also be spread through blood transfusions and organ transplants. Pregnant women can transmit the virus to their fetus, and mothers can transmit it to babies through breast milk, the CDC says.

ANALYSIS: Mobile App Uses Sound to Keep Mosquitoes Away

West Nile virus cannot be spread by casual contact, or touching or kissing an infected person, according to the CDC.

3. What are the symptoms of a West Nile infection?

About 80 percent of people infected with West Nile show no symptoms at all, according to the CDC.

The other 20 percent have symptoms such as fever, headache, body aches, nausea, vomiting and sometimes swollen lymph glands. Some develop a rash on the chest, stomach and back. Symptoms may last anywhere from a few days to several weeks.

Severe forms of West Nile, which affect the nervous system, can be life-threatening. The NIH says that the following symptoms need prompt medical attention: muscle weakness, stiff neck, weakness in one arm or leg, confusion or a change in ability to think clearly and loss of consciousness or coma.

4. How can I prevent catching West Nile?

The CDC recommends using an insect repellent that contains one of the following ingredients: DEET, picardin, oil of lemon eucalyptus (or a synthetic version of this oil, called PMD), or IR3535. These ingredients are suggested by the Environmental Protection Agency because they provide reasonably long-lasting protection against mosquito bites.

The CDC also suggests wearing long sleeves and pants, or staying indoors, at dusk and dawn, when mosquitoes are most active.

Mosquitoes breed in standing water, and so removing standing water from flower pots, pet dishes, buckets and barrels can reduce the risk of transmission. Children's wading pools should be emptied and stored on their sides when not in use.

5. How is West Nile virus treated?

There is no treatment for West Nile virus infections, according to the CDC.

Mild symptoms can resolve on their own. People with severe symptoms may need to be hospitalized and receive intravenous fluids or help with breathing, the CDC says.

Pass it on: Authorities in Dallas are spraying insecticide, hoping to curb the spread of the West Nile Virus, which has killed 10.


Kit B (276)
Sunday August 19, 2012, 6:14 pm

Just a thought - spraying will not kill mosquito eggs, once the eggs are lain, the mosquito is dead, finished not biting any longer. Because of very dry conditions we have seen no crickets, crickets do eat mosquito larvae. Could be, this is a reflection of much bigger problems.

MmAway M (505)
Sunday August 19, 2012, 6:20 pm
Thank you Kit~

They have begun SPRAYING ALL over again for this. I will never forget 3-4 years ago when they came at night here and they told everyone to stay inside and all you heard were helecoptors and they were spraying the #!#! out of the area.


MmAway M (505)
Sunday August 19, 2012, 6:23 pm
Forgot, this year with all of the green and rotten standing water, they are giving out free fish that eat mosquito larvae. So much better than spraying. Those nasty little buggers!

Pat B (356)
Sunday August 19, 2012, 6:31 pm
Thank you, Kit for this post. Travis and Williamson counties have seen WNV in several people. An elderly lady died from the virus. Its been so hot and dry here, tho' we did get some rain last night. No spraying here, it seems more dense up where you are. I don't go outside as much as I used to, and that seems to work. While my corgi goes outside to check the perimeter, I do go over her fur with a fine bristle brush, just in case. Sadly, we are inside the house in the winter, and now the summer too. Good information you put on here, thanks so much for this.

. (0)
Monday August 20, 2012, 3:21 pm
Everything's connected Kit so I think you have a valid point. Thanks.

Elaine Al Meqdad (283)
Monday August 20, 2012, 7:17 pm
Well there is no cure, you have the initial symptoms that are indicative of a flu added by muscle and joint pain so many people just assume they have the flu, Another scary disease associated with mosquito's aside from the West Nile Virus is a disease called EEE which unfortunately the only part of the name I remember and suppose the most important is encephalitis as the last word, which is an extreme build up of fluid build up within the brain which is also incurable. Those living in very humid areas with body of water need to be extra cautious and utilize DEET to repel them and cover the body with clothing if you have to go out.

Christeen A (368)
Monday August 20, 2012, 7:41 pm
Thanks for sharing this information.

Past Member (0)
Monday August 20, 2012, 9:10 pm

Puneet N. (0)
Tuesday August 21, 2012, 3:16 am
SOLUTION to Mosquito borne diseases...
If someone is willing and knows who - where to contact .. there is a 100% natural fix available for the toxic mosquito spraying - The fix is a product called NoMos, which is 100% non-toxic and safe for children and even food ! we can be on the ground running within 72 hrs though we are based in India. please contact if interested.

Past Member (0)
Tuesday August 21, 2012, 3:42 am

Jonjon Hoy (146)
Tuesday August 21, 2012, 1:03 pm
Whats funny about this is the West Nile Virus has been in South Texas for a great many years and just last week the put out a State Of Emergency cause the West Nile Virus is now up in Dallas, Texas, U.S.A. What too them so long to post a State of Emergency? Heck, you can get AIDS from mesquitoe bites. So many people are allergic to DEET. Are we doomed? I use AVON skin so soft to repel mesquitoes and it works quite well for that.

David Menard (43)
Tuesday August 21, 2012, 2:31 pm
Well luckily in my State WNV mosquitos 2 towns and no human cases But im still being quite cautious as WNV and EEE have been detected in several towns in nearby MA

Lois Jordan (63)
Tuesday August 21, 2012, 5:18 pm
We've had so much rain in AZ this season that cases of West Nile were found in a couple of counties....which they then sprayed.

wendy webber (28)
Wednesday August 22, 2012, 4:50 am
I can only see this as a reflection of the much larger warming etc...that has everything out of whack (but it really is not happening,smoke and mirrors once again). When I read this article, my mind went to the movie "the Lion King" and the circle of life. Didn't any grown-ups watch this movie?

Justin M (2)
Wednesday August 22, 2012, 5:44 am
Thanks and noted. Mosquitoes have been pretty bad around my home lately here in Mississippi. Yesterday morning I decided to take a little action to try to help ease the problem. I poured out the water out of the bird bath in my back yard (needed cleaning anyway) as standing water is a big mosquito "thing". It was literally as soon as I poured it out a bunch of mosquitoes started swarming so I'm guessing it might have been a hot spot in my back yard, so to speak. Hopefully that'll help some because they've been absolutely awful around my home recently.

Beverly C (0)
Wednesday August 22, 2012, 6:08 am

Geela Green (2)
Wednesday August 22, 2012, 6:47 am
Good information. My Sister-In-Law got West Nile a couple of years ago.
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