West Nile Virus Disease
West Nile virus is a disease that can be transmitted to humans by mosquitoes. It has been common in Africa, west Asia and the Middle East for decades. It first appeared in the U.S. in 1999 in New York. It has since traveled westward across the U.S. and now is in Colorado.
Nearly 3,000 human cases were reported in Colorado in 2003; 63 Coloradans died from the disease and almost 900 were hospitalized. Most of those who became seriously ill recovered, but some suffered permanent disabilities.
It is very rare to catch this illness, and most infected people will not get sick or will have only mild symptoms. However, West Nile virus can be fatal. We want you to have the facts, in order to ease your fears, and so that you can take appropriate prevention measures.
it is spread:
Health departments across Colorado and around the country are closely monitoring human and horse illnesses, testing dead birds, and monitoring mosquito breeding areas.
Mosquito season in Colorado starts in the Spring and ends in mid-September.
Even in areas where the virus is circulating, very few mosquitoes are infected with the virus. Even if a mosquito is infected, less than 1% of people who get bitten and become infected will get severely ill. The chances a person will become severely ill from any one mosquito bite are extremely small. The risks are low, but why take chances?
All residents of areas where West Nile virus activity has been confirmed are at risk, but people over age 50 seem to be especially vulnerable to the severe forms of disease. In rare cases, it can be fatal. Symptoms generally appear 3 to 14 days after exposure.
West Nile virus can cause paralysis, encephalitis (inflammation of the brain) and/or meningitis (inflammation of the brain's lining). However, most infections are mild and symptoms include fever, headache, body aches, and occasionally include skin rashes and swollen lymph nodes.
More severe infections may include headache, high fever, neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, muscle weakness or convulsions. Persons with these symptoms need to seek medical attention immediately.
Q. How long does
the West Nile virus remain in a persons body after they are infected?
Q. If a person
contracts West Nile virus, does that person develop a natural immunity
to future infection by the virus?
a personal protection tip sheet
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