Health Officials Caution About West Nile Virus

Image credit: NY Daily News

According to a report issued by the Kane County Health Department, a bird was found dead last week which tested positive for West Nile virus. With the current threats of this deadly virus, dead birds found in the county are collected and sent to laboratories for analysis. Upon taking the avian body, it must not show any physical trauma, decay, or insect activity so as to optimize the standard procedures before the examination. For this year, this is the first bird that tested positive of the virus. The last affirmative case was found last year yet.

West Nile virus is said to be transmitted to human beings through a bite from a mosquito that has fed on an infected bird. Depending on the health status of the person bit by the infected mosquito, symptoms will show between 2 to 15 days after. Prominent signs and symptoms are fever, headache, meningitis, encephalitis, and poliomyelitis-like syndrome. Immediate and intensive treatment can bring about a better prognosis in these infected patients. However, if brain inflammation is not treated as soon as possible, then this could lead to serious neurologic complications and even death.

Tom Schlueter, the Health Department spokesperson issued a statement that only 2 out of 10 infected people will actually experience the illness. People who are over their 50’s are most at risk for taking on the symptoms. Also, those who are immunocompromised are at a higher risk.

To avoid contracting the virus, the Health Department suggests that people must be inside their homes during dusk and dawn when the  mosquitoes are very active. If planning to go outdoors, putting insect repellents on the skin is a must. Also, homes must have tight-fitting screens so as to prevent the mosquitoes from entering. Rain containers outside must also be covered to avoid mosquito reproduction.

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