Recently, health officials reported the first 2018 West Nile Fever Related Death in Harris County. So, is West Nile Virus Life-Threatening?
Aside irritation, rashes and itchy bump, mosquitoes can spread wide-variety of diseases that can be equally dangerous and life-threatening. Malaria, Zika Virus, Encephalitis, Dengue, Yellow Fever are some of the common diseases spread by the mosquito that we know. But unlike these infections, West Nile Virus is one rare mosquito-borne infection that has left health professionals a bit in a puzzle. Since there’s no vaccination or anti-viral drugs to cure this infection, it’s better to know all the details including the cause of West Nile virus, symptoms, risk factors, and prevention of the infection.
What is West Nile Virus Or West Nile Virus Infection?
West Nile Virus is a mosquito-transmitted virus that causes West Nile Infection. This infection is more prevalent in North America, where the cases of West Nile infections have reported during the summer till fall. Surprisingly, the 75% of West Nile infections only show few or no symptoms at all.
The infected mosquitoes previously infected by the infected birds, transfer the virus in humans. The infection is not contagious and unlike other deadly viruses such as HIV and malaria, the virus rarely spreads through organ transplants, blood transfusions or mother-to-fetus transmission.
Some Facts About West Nile Virus
- West Nile Virus is a single-stranded RNA virus belonging to the virus family Flaviviridae from the genus Flavivirus, which also contains other viruses such as Zika virus, Dengue virus and Yellow Fever virus.
- WNV is an enveloped virus but has icosahedral symmetry.
- It is primarily transmitted by Culex mosquitoes but certain ticks have found to carry the virus.
- There’s no human vaccine for West Nile Virus and only 1 in 5 people infected with this virus show symptoms like fever and skin rash.
- The best method to reduce the risk of infections is avoiding mosquito bites.
- West Nile virus reported in Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Middle East. It appeared in the United States in the summer of 1999, and since then has been reported in every state
What are the Symptoms of the West Nile Virus?
Well, it’s quite unbelievable but most people infected with the West Nile Virus do not show any signs and symptoms. This, however, does not apply for all the cases; less than 1 percent of infected show some serious neurological infections. Some of the mild symptoms of the West Nile Fever include fever, vomiting, body aches, skin rash, fatigue, and diarrhea. These symptoms usually last for 3-4 days but the signs and symptoms under serious case can last for weeks or months.
- High fever
- Severe headache
- Stiff neck
- Disorientation or confusion
- Stupor or coma
- Tremors or muscle jerking
- Partial paralysis or muscle weakness
Diagnosis is usually done based on the symptoms. Your doctor might suggest you do blood tests and other tests to identify the infection.
Can the West Nile Virus Kill You? What Are The Risk Factors?
Fortunately, there are very low chances that the West Nile Virus will kill you but there are some risk factors associated with this infection. Only less than 1 percent of infected people are at the risk of becoming severely ill and those who get ill can recover easily and completely after proper treatment.
People who are 60 and above infected with WNV can develop serious neurological complications. And those who already have certain medical conditions such as cancer, hypertension, diabetes or kidney disease are at a greater risk of developing certain complications.
Recent report claim that a Man died due the West Nile Infection in Harris County
A 45-year-old man from Southwest Houston died after contracting the West Nile Virus recently. The man reportedly had an underlying chronic health condition. A total of 303 mosquito samples have shown positive results for the virus, as of Thursday.
The areas where those samples have detected sprayed to reduce the risk of the disease, according to health officials. In 2018 a total of six human cases of the West Nile Virus have confirmed in Harris County and the City of Houston.
Is the West Nile Virus curable?
Unfortunately, there are no vaccination or anti-viral medications for the treatment of West Nile Virus. Preventing the infection is the only cure for this virus. Also, there are over the counter medications such as painkillers and other drugs to relieve the symptoms of fever, vomiting and body pain. For severe cases of infection, hospitalization and close monitoring of the infected patients by the doctor is necessary.
How Do We Prevent the West Nile Virus?
You can prevent WNV by reducing your exposure to the mosquitoes. For that, you can remove the habitat of mosquitoes such as stagnant water by emptying the unused swimming pools, or birth baths, or roof gutters, removing old tires and unused containers, repairing cracked walls, screens and windows.
Always use mosquito repellent if you are going to the woods, or wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants. Choose the concentration based on the hours of protection you need — the higher the percentage (concentration) of the active ingredient, the longer the repellent will work. Use mosquito netting while sleeping outdoors or in your bedroom during the summers. Also staying indoors during the dawn, dusk and early evening hours is better as mosquitoes are really active during those hours.