West Nile Virus
West Nile Virus
The West Nile virus is a zoonotic arbovirus which is mosquito borne. It is commonly transmitted from mosquitoes, birds, ticks, and many different types of mammals. It is estimated that around 80% of West Nile virus infections are considered to be subclinical and do not cause any symptoms. When symptoms do occur, there is a period of 2 to 15 days of infection to the appearance of the symptoms; this is considered to be the incubation period. Some of the symptoms that are associated with this condition include headache, fatigue, fever, muscle ache, malaise, vomiting, anorexia, nausea, rash, and myalgias. It is believed that less than 1% are severe and will result in neurological disease. People who are most susceptible to this disease are considered to be the young, the elderly, those who have conditions such as HIV or cancer, and those who are dealing with immunosuppression, whether it is medically induced or not.
There is no vaccination available for West Nile virus. It is believed that the method that is best used for reducing the amount of West Nile virus infection is controlling the amount of mosquitoes within areas that may be affected. By reducing the amount of breeding that may happen between mosquitoes in these areas, it is less likely that these insects will be infected with the disease and be able to transmit it to other hosts and animals within the area as well.
It is also believed that there are actions that people can take to prevent the disease on a personal basis. This can include using mosquito repellent, avoiding locations where they may be likely to be present, using window screens, and taking other actions to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes. Unfortunately, there is not a specific treatment for those who have been infected by the West Nile virus. In some of the severe cases, the treatment that has been developed includes uses of intravenous fluids, respiratory support, hospitalization to ensure proper monitoring of the affected individuals, and the prevention of any possible infections that may result as a complication to the West Nile virus.
Although it is believed that those who have West Nile virus can experience a positive prognosis, there are many studies which indicate that it can become more severe than people have previously considered in the past. Recent outbreaks have shown that it can take as long as 90 days to fully recover from a diagnosis of West Nile virus. Those who have other diseases and have been exposed to West Nile virus have a less likely chance of recovering from it on an optimal basis.