West Nile Virus avoidable with bite prevention tactics
Monday, 24 September 2012 by Jennifer John
West Nile virus can be contracted from a mosquito bite The Bell County Public Health District and Centers for Disease Control urges people to take precautions now to protect from being infected.
"Bell County's WNV incidents rate is 2.6 per 100,000, which is a good place to be without a lot of rain and cooler weather coming on," Interim District Director Bonnie J. Scurzi, RN, WHNP-BC said. "The big and most affective message is the Public Health District encourages people to show personal responsibility for their self and property."
There are ways to reduce exposure to West Nile virus such as staying indoors at dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active. Wear long sleeves and pants at dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are most active. Apply an approved insect repellant with DEET, Picaridin, or oil of lemon eucalyptus whenever outdoors. Drain standing water or regularly change water such as pet dishes and bird baths weekly as well as wading pools when not used. Use air conditioning or make sure there are screens on all doors and windows to keep mosquitos from entering the home.
In most cases, WNV symptoms occur between three and 14 days after being bitten by the infected mosquito. WNV is not a contagious disease between persons. Infected mosquitoes get the virus from feeding on infected birds and mammals. In some cases, the virus can cause serious illness or death.
According to the Bell County Public Health District, symptoms include levels of none, mild and serious. In most cases, there are no symptoms or signs at all. About 80 percent of people who are infected with WNV will not show any symptoms at all.
Up to 20 percent of the people who become infected have symptoms such as fever, headache, body aches, nausea, vomiting and sometimes swollen lymph glands or skin rashes on the chest stomach and back.
About one in 150 people infected with WNV will develop severe illness. The severe symptoms can include high fever, headache, neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness, vision loss, numbness and paralysis. These symptoms may last several weeks and neurological effects may be permanent.
There are no medications to treat WNV or vaccines to prevent infection. In more severe cases, people usually need to go to the hospital where they can receive supportive treatment including intravenous fluids, help with breathing and nursing care. If people have symptoms that cause them concern, they should contact their healthcare provider.
CDC is working with state and local health departments to prepare for and prevent new cases of WNV. Some of these include: coordinating a nation-wide electronic database where states share information about WNV, helping states develop and carry out improved mosquito prevention and control programs, developing better, faster tests to detect and diagnose WNV, creating new education tools and programs for the media, the public and health professionals, opening new testing laboratories for WNV and working with partners to develop vaccines.
If you find a dead bird don't handle the body with your hands. Contact your local health department for instructions on reporting and disposing of the body. They may tell you to dispose of the bird after they log your report.
For more information call (254) 773-4457 or visit www.bellcountyhealth.org or call 800-CDC-INFO or visit www.cdc.gov/westnile.