Saturday, July 21, 2012

West Nile Virus is back in town

DeKalb has reported the first West Nile virus-infected mosquito of the season via the AJC. No human cases have been reported for this year, but Georgia usually reports 10-20 cases/year.

According to CDC's fact sheet on West Nile virus

  • Most people who are infected with West Nile virus (80%) experience no ill effects. 
  • Up to 20% experience symptoms such as "fever, headache, and body aches, nausea, vomiting, and sometimes swollen lymph glands or a skin rash on the chest, stomach and back. Symptoms can last for as short as a few days, though even healthy people have become sick for several weeks."
  • Under 1% experience severe symptoms: "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.
  • People over 50 years of age are more likely to experience symptoms.
The virus persists year-round but is a primary concern during warm weather, when adult mosquitoes are most active.  As a neighborhood rich in creeks and floodplains (potential breeding ground), animals (many domestic and wild animals may function as year-round reservoir for virus), and outdoorsy folks, we should protect ourselves and our neighbors by checking for and eliminating standing water sources that may be used as mosquito breeding areas at least on a weekly basis and avoiding  mosquito bites via protective clothing and application of insect repellent.

The NY Department of Health offers the following advice:

See MANA's 2011 mosquito warning and the Georgia State Department mosquito-borne disease page.