West Nile Virus

I have noticed in the last few weeks, many articles on West Nile Virus showing up all across the country. The season for WNV seems to have gotten an early start due to the light winter and early spring that happened across the country.

To keep from getting WNV, one should do all that is possible to keep from getting bit by mosquitoes.

How to stay “bite-free”

• Use insect repellent according to label instructions

• Choose the correct concentration of “DEET” for your outdoor activity

• The higher concentrations of active “repellent” will provide longer  duration of protection, and products with ≤10 percent active ingredient may  offer only limited protection, often from 1–2 hours.

• Reapply the insect repellent according to the label instructions

• Limit DEET containing repellents to not more than 10 percent on young  children

• Pyrethrum may be applied to your clothing, shoes, jackets, etc

• Never apply to children’s fingers, hands and “near the mouth”

• Always apply the spray to you first and then to your child

• Avoid applying repellents to areas near the mouth and eyes

• Some botanical oils [for example, oil of lemon and eucalyptus] can provide  protection (although in most

studies, they will not necessarily last as long as DEET containing  repellents)

• Keep your screens in optimal condition to keep mosquitoes out

• Wear long sleeves and pants, especially when hiking

• Wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants, and “tucking” in as well as  wearing socks and “closed shoes”.

• Do a “tick” check after exposure

• Avoid dusk and dawn, and during the evening after dark. This may reduce the  day’s “prime biting” time periods

• After returning indoors, wash treated skin with soap and water or bathe,  similarly wash “treated clothing” before wearing again.

Have your yard professionaly treated by Mosquito Squad  http://www.grandrapids.mosquitosquad.com

 

There are stories daily of people being diagnoised with the disease. What are the symptons of WNV?

Q. What are the symptoms of West Nile virus (WNV) infection? A. Infection with WNV can be asymptomtic (no symptoms), or can lead to West Nile fever or severe West Nile disease.

It is estimated that about 20% of people who become infected with WNV will develop West Nile fever. Symptoms include fever, headache, tiredness, and body aches, occasionally with a skin rash (on the trunk of the body) and swollen lymph glands. While the illness can be as short as a few days, even healthy people have reported being sick for several weeks.

The symptoms of severe disease (also called neuroinvasive disease, such as West Nile encephalitis or meningitis or West Nile poliomyelitis) include headache, high fever, neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness, and paralysis. It is estimated that approximately 1 in 150 persons infected with the West Nile virus will develop a more severe form of disease. Serious illness can occur in people of any age, however people over age 50 and some immunocompromised persons (for example, transplant patients) are at the highest risk for getting severely ill when infected with WNV.

Most people (about 4 out of 5) who are infected with West Nile virus will not develop any type of illness (an asymptomatic infection), however you cannot know ahead of time if you’ll get sick or not when infected.

Q. What is the incubation period in humans (i.e., time from infection to onset of disease symptoms) for West Nile disease? A. Usually 2 to 15 days.

Q. How long do symptoms last? A. Symptoms of West Nile fever will generally last a few days, although even some healthy people report having the illness last for several weeks. The symptoms of severe disease (encephalitis or meningitis) may last several weeks, although neurological effects may be permanent.

Q. What is meant by West Nile encephalitis, West Nile meningitis, West Nile poliomyelitis, “neuroinvasive disease” and West Nile fever? A. The most severe type of disease due to a person being infected with West Nile virus is sometimes called “neuroinvasive disease,” because it affects a person’s nervous system. Specific types of neuroinvasive disease include: West Nile encephalitis, West Nile meningitis, West Nile meningoencephalitis and West Nile poliomyelitis. Encephalitis refers to an inflammation of the brain, meningitis is an inflammation of the membrane around the brain and the spinal cord, meningoencephalitis refers to inflammation of the brain and the membrane surrounding it, and poliomyelitis refers to an inflammation of the spinal cord.

West Nile Fever is another type of illness that can occur in people who become infected with the virus. It is characterized by fever, headache, tiredness, aches and sometimes rash. Although the illness can be as short as a few days, even healthy people have been sick for several weeks.

Q. If I have West Nile Fever, can it turn into West Nile encephalitis? A. When someone is infected with West Nile virus (WNV) they will typically have one of three outcomes: No symptoms (most likely), West Nile fever (WNF in about 20% of people) or severe West Nile disease, such as meningitis or encephalitis (less than 1% of those who get infected). If you develop a high fever with severe headache, consult your health care provider.

West Nile fever is characterized by symptoms such as fever, body aches, headache and sometimes swollen lymph glands and rash. West Nile fever generally lasts only a few days, though in some cases symptoms have been reported to last longer, even up to several weeks. West Nile fever does not appear to cause any permanent health effects. There is no specific treatment for WNV infection. People with West Nile fever recover on their own, though symptoms can be relieved through various treatments (such as medication for headache and body aches, etc.).

Some people may develop a brief, WNF-like illness (early symptoms) before they develop more severe disease, though the percentage of patients in whom this occurs is not known.

Occasionally, an infected person may develop more severe disease such as “West Nile encephalitis,” “West Nile meningitis” or “West Nile meningoencephalitis.” Encephalitis refers to an inflammation of the brain, meningitis is an inflammation of the membrane around the brain and the spinal cord, and meningoencephalitis refers to inflammation of the brain and the membrane surrounding it. Although there is no treatment for WNV infection itself, the person with severe disease often needs to be hospitalized. Care may involve nursing IV fluids, respiratory support, and prevention of secondary infections.

 

 

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