By DiMarkco Chandler:
We last reported several days ago that the number of West Nile virus cases reported in the U.S. totaled 241. Since then, reported cases of the disease has significantly increased to 390. The elevated change has moved the “Center for Disease Control and Prevention to classify the disease as an epidemic. It’s the highest outbreak of the virus since 2004 according to officials at the CDC. Three states, Texas, Mississippi and Oklahoma have reported 80% of the cases. CDC medical epidemiologist Marc Fisher, M.D. says, “It is not clear why we are seeing more activity than in recent years… [nevertheless,] regardless of the reasons for the increase, people should be aware of the West Nile virus activity in their area and take action to protect themselves and their family.”
West Nile virus is one of the Japanese encephalitis of viruses. In other words Japanese encephalitis simply means a disease caused by the misquitoborne Japanese encephalitis virus. It was first identified in the West Nile sub-region in the East African nation of Uganda in 1937 and primarily infected birds but humans, dogs cats and other domestic animals can attract the disease. Naturally, the disease is transmitted through the bite of an infected mosquito. CDC studies show that approximately 80% of West Nile virus infections in humans are without symptoms. Due to this known fact, this year has caught health professionals at a lost when it comes to explaining the sudden increase in the reported cases of the disease.
The Centers for Disease Control says the number of West Nile Cases typically peaks around mid-August.
Not every mosquito carries the virus, and less than 1-percent of the bites from mosquitoes that do have the virus actually cause serious illness.
Most people infected with West Nile virus experience only mild, flu-like symptoms that last a few days. Symptoms usually appear within 3 to 14 days of infection, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The more severe form of the West Nile virus, West Nile Neuroinvasive Disease, occurs when the virus crosses the blood-brain barrier. Symptoms may include headache, high fever, neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness, and paralysis.
Of the 241 cases that have been reported this year only four have resulted in death, says official at CDC. It is important to note however that it’s the highest number of deaths from the disease since 2004.
There are no medications to treat the disease nor has anyone discovered an effective vaccine to prevent West Nile infections. People with milder illnesses typically recover on their own, although symptoms may last for several weeks,”
According to CDC officials: for “severe cases, patients often need to be hospitalized to receive supportive treatment, such as intravenous fluids, pain medication and nursing care.”
According to the “Center for Disease Control and Prevention,” it is possible to measurably reduce one’s chances of contracting The West Nile virus; this is done by using and reapplying repellents frequently, limit time outdoors during the dusk and dawn, and drain areas where there is standing water.
Based on the CDC West Nile Virus Handbook: “
Anyone who lives or works in an area where there are WNV-infected mosquitoes is at risk of WNV infection. People of all ages are at risk of the lu-like symptoms of this infection. Although people usually recover, the symptoms may be severe enough to result in lost workdays for extended periods. People above age 50 and those who have had organ transplants are known to have the highest risk of severe illness from WNV infection. Others with compromised immune systems are also likely to be at high risk. However, people of all ages and conditions can become severely ill. Therefore, ALL workers should be careful to follow the recommendations listed in this brochure to reduce their potential for exposure to WNV.”
The following link with take you to the WNV handbook: http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/docs/2005-155/pdfs/2005-155.pdf