Symptoms of West Nile and other things to know about virus

4:13 PM, Jun 8, 2012   |    comments
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SACRAMENTO, CA - It's only been around for nine years in California, but has already caused a lot of headache.

The West Nile Virus was first detected in the New York City in 1999, nearly 60 years after it was first isolated in Uganda. Four years later, the virus arrived in California. WNV is not the most prevalent mosquito disease in the U.S., according to the Sacramento-Yolo Mosquito and Vector Control District.

Mosquitoes infected by WNV transmit it to humans and animals when they take blood from them.

RELATED STORY: Insecticide spraying of mosquitoes scheduled for south Sacramento

Majority of people, about 80 percent, who are bitten by an infected mosquito, will show no symptoms, the district said.

Nearly 20 percent of people, however, will develop West Nile fever, which has flu-like symptoms:

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Occasional skin rash
  • Eye pain
  • Swollen lymph glands
  • Abdominal pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Sore throat
  • Nausea
  • Lack of appetite

Those symptoms may last two to three weeks.

Unfortunately, the disease may progress to being more sever in roughly 1 percent of people. According to PubMed Health, the sever form of the disease "may be called West Nile encephalitis or West Nile meningitis, depending on what part of the body is affected."

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If someone shows the following symptoms, they need medical attention:

  • Confusion
  • Loss of consciousness or coma
  • Muscles weakness
  • Stiff neck
  • Weakness of one arm or leg

Tests to diagnose WNV include:

  • Complete Blood Count
  • Head CT Scan
  • Head MRI scan
  • Lumbar puncture
  • Cerebrospinal fluid testing

Because WNV is not a bacterial infection, antibiotics will not help fight the infection. However, hospital care may help decrease the risk of complications.

The district recommends that people stay inside to avoid mosquitoes. If you need to go outside, use insect repellent, which has 15 percent deet.

News10/KXTV

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