Everything You Need to Know about the West Nile Virus July 25 2022
Mosquitoes are among the most consistent among the many pests that plague us. After all, they can be found anywhere in the wilderness or the city. Because of this, mosquitoes often carry viruses that can prove fatal if not treated immediately. One perfect example of this is the West Nile Virus.
The West Nile Virus was first found in 1937 in Uganda. At first glance, the virus doesn't show symptoms and won't be apparent even if there are. However, it can cause severe neurological damage that affects the central nervous system. Symptoms usually appear a week to ten days after infection as mild flu. As the virus progresses, it can cause fever, headache, body aches, and even worsen, including skin rash and encephalitis.
Few people know about the West Nile Virus, so we'll discuss the details in this article.
More about the West Nile Virus
The West Nile virus is transmitted through the bite of an infected mosquito. It's also possible to contract the virus by drinking contaminated water. The virus has a 21-day incubation period, and it can lead to permanent nervous system damage or death.
Most of the time, a person will be asymptomatic and won't show any condition related to the virus. However, those who haven't been vaccinated against the virus are at risk. People who live in an area that's endemic to mosquitoes are usually at the highest risk of contracting the disease. Still, this virus has been detected in various regions of the world.
How Can You Get It?
Aside from mosquito bites, you can also get the West Nile Virus through:
- Blood transfusions
- Organ transplant surgery
The silver lining is that it's not contagious, meaning you can't get it if you're near someone who has it.
Symptoms of West Nile Virus
When you get the West Nile Virus, you can experience the following symptoms:
The symptoms of the West Nile Virus are similar to those of the flu, so you may not immediately know if you're suffering from it. Some symptoms include:
- Muscle ache
It's worth noting that the symptoms that affect the nervous system only appear during severe cases, so they don't always occur. However, this doesn't mean you won't experience these symptoms.
Can It Kill You?
The West Nile Virus typically results in mild symptoms, which are similar to those of the flu. Most symptoms disappear after a couple of weeks during the acute phase of the illness. The worst-case scenario is that you experience neurological problems, such as problems with your vision or even paralysis. Even worse, the virus can kill, but this is incredibly rare.
The most common cause of death is in the elderly. If a person suffers from an underlying condition, such as heart disease or a compromised immune system, they may experience more severe symptoms and complications.
While the thought of having the West Nile Virus is daunting, the good news is that there are ways to manage the disease. Most people can heal from it if they take over-the-counter medications such as acetaminophen (Tylenol®) or ibuprofen (Advil® or Motrin®). These medications relieve minor aches and discomfort, which will come in handy.
On the other hand, hospitalized care is necessary for more severe cases. Intravenous (IV) fluids and breathing support are required to support a patient incapacitated by the virus. Meanwhile, doctors will administer antiviral medications.
The best way to prevent the West Nile Virus is to avoid mosquito bites in the first place. Simply avoiding places where mosquitoes live is the best way to eliminate the risk of contracting the virus. Wearing long sleeves and long pants is a good idea, as mosquitoes can't bite through these fabrics.
Cleaning also helps, as mosquitoes often lay eggs in stagnant water. Thus, you should also empty any puddles or any place where water has collected. Spraying your yard with insecticide also prevents them from nesting.
The West Nile Virus might be uncommon, but that doesn't mean you should ignore it. It severely affects the quality of life and can prove fatal if ignored. You should consult a doctor immediately if you think you have the virus.
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