The West Nile Virus: Risks, Symptoms and Treatment
The West Nile virus is a mosquito-borne infection. Infected mosquitoes can spread the virus to a variety of animals including. West Nile virus is usually spread by the bite of a mosquito that has fed on an infected bird. Most people who get West Nile virus experience no symptoms or only mild flu-like symptoms, but it can cause serious illness and there are few medical options to treat or prevent it.
Who is at risk for the West Nile Virus?
Anyone can become infected if they are exposed to a mosquito bite. It only takes a single bite from an infected mosquito to contract West Nile virus. The risks vary from year to year based on precipitation, temperature, and mosquito populations. The highest risk periods are generally when mosquito populations are at their peak during the summer months. Individuals spending time outdoors are greater risk of exposure.
Some people are at greater risk for serious health effects from West Nile virus. These include:
people over the age of 50
people with chronic diseases, such as cancer, diabetes, alcoholism or heart disease
people who require medical treatment that may weaken their immune system, such as chemotherapy
What are the symptoms of the West Nile Virus?
While most people who get the West Nile Virus (70%-80%) show no symptoms and do not become ill, others may show mild symptoms. Symptoms can range from mild to severe. First symptoms usually appear within 2 to 15 days after infection.
Mild symptoms may include:
Very few people (fewer than 10% of those with symptoms) have severe symptoms that affect the central nervous system (nerve tissues in the brain and spinal cord).
Severe symptoms may include:
very bad headache
stiff neck (you might have trouble moving your neck side-to-side)
nausea or vomiting
blurred vision or worsening eyesight
muscle weakness and reduced coordination
Treating the West Nile Virus
There is no specific treatment or vaccine for West Nile virus infection in humans. Medical professionals diagnose WNV infection based on the patient’s symptoms, geographic location and the time of year they were bitten, and the results of laboratory tests. Hospitalization or nursing care may be necessary. Although most people with serious symptoms and health effects fully recover, others can experience long term, ongoing health problems.
These problems may include:
Physical effects, muscle weakness, headaches
Mental effects, confusion, depression, concentration, memory loss
For now, the key to combating West Nile is prevention. That’s where we come in. Call the The Mosquito Guy today to learn more about effective mosquito control for you and your family.
Our team of licensed and trained mosquito control experts can protect your family from the risk of West Nile Virus , by treating your property with mosquito spray. Talk to us today about our mosquito control and tick control service.