West Nile causes fever, headache, and paralysis and spreads to humans by mosquitoes
New Delhi: At least one person was killed after being infected with the United States deadliest West Nile Virus in New Jersey, and many more have been infected, the health department has said.
According to the authorities, five of the six regions in Kansas have been put on high alert since last week amidst a resurgence of the life-threatening fever that left 79 people dead last year.
West Nile causes fever, headache, and paralysis and spreads to humans by mosquitoes living near ponds and pools of stagnant water, leading to a fatal illness in one out of every 150 people infected.
At least 16 cases of infection have been reported across the five boroughs of New York since last week, with the maximum number of cases in Queens, reported the city's Health Department. Out of the eight cases reported in the state so far, six have been hospitalized and are receiving treatment.
Last year, 20 cases of the virus were detected in New Jersey with four of them proving to be fatal. New York City, on the other hand, reported 46 cases last year, with two being fatal.
How dangerous is West Nile virus?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the West Nile virus is the primary cause of mosquito-borne disease in the US, with most cases occurring during the summer and fall.
Originating in 1937, the virus gets its name after the West Nile district of Uganda where it was first isolated. It is usually spread by mosquitoes that become infected when they feed on infected birds that often carry the disease. The virus is genetically related to the Japanese encephalitis family of viruses.
Signs and Symptoms
Symptoms of those infected with West Nile virus are:
- High fever
- Severe headache
- Neck stiffness
- Coma in serious cases
- Feeling tremors
- Muscle weakness
- Loss of vision
- Numbness and paralysis
According to doctors even though the infection can be serious in people of any age, those above 60 are at a higher risk since their immune systems are usually compromised.
Also, those with medical conditions like cancer, diabetes, hypertension, kidney disease, and those who have received organ transplants, are at greater risk.
Recovery from severe illness might take several weeks or months. Some effects on the central nervous system might be permanent.
Treatment and prevention
Since there is no vaccine or other way to treat the virus, health officials say the best way to protect yourself from the virus is to avoid mosquito bites.
Apart from that, a few other ways are:
Disclaimer: Tips and suggestions mentioned in the article are for general information purposes only and should not be construed as professional medical advice. Always consult your doctor or a dietician before starting any fitness programme or making any changes to your diet.
- Prevent mosquito breeding by clearing pools of water standing in gutters, swimming pools, and buckets
- Wear full sleeve clothes
- Keep the doors and windows closed and install mesh to prevent mosquitoes from entering
- Keeping your surroundings clean