Nile Virus (WNV) is one of the insect-borne diseases found
in many areas of the world.
So named after it
was discovered in the West Nile District of Uganda in 1937,
the disease has since spread to others areas of Africa, Eastern Europe,
West Asia, the Middle East and North America.
worst outbreaks were in 1974 when South Africa reported an
epidemic of 3,000 cases and in Romania in 1996-1997 where
500 cases were reported with a 10% fatality rate.
How West Nile virus is transmitted
West Nile virus is transmitted from birds, to mosquitoes, to humans.
Symptoms and treatment
America has been experiencing an ever-growing area where cases
have been diagnosed in birds, other animals and humans. Common signs that you may have West Nile Virus include flu-like symptoms such as fever, fatigue, headache and joint pain that last anywhere from a few days to weeks.
Since it is a virus, there are no antibiotics that will combat West Nile, and treatment usually consists of over-the-counter pain relievers and waiting for the disease to run its course. In rarer cases, severe headaches or confusion may arise from associated complications such as West Nile encephalitis or West Nile meningitis, in which case expert medical care should be sought immediately.
most effective prevention of this disease is limiting the
number of mosquitoes by using chemical sprays and reducing
the places where they can thrive and breed. Wearing long sleeve shirt and pants, using insect repellents, and installing screens on doors and windows also help reduce risk of catching the disease.
- West Nile Virus
- The US Center for Disease Control has plenty of data for
clinicians and those studying the disease, but headings like
"Fight the Bite" and "Tell Mosquitoes to Buzz
Off" are definitely geared to everyone. This site is
available in Spanish and other languages as well as English.